Chris Carpenter finds himself in the midst of his longest home
winless streak since debuting with the St. Louis Cardinals in
Carlos Zambrano, meanwhile, hasn’t lost in St. Louis since
While Carpenter looks to end his slide, Zambrano will try to
continue his run and slow down red-hot Albert Pujols as the
Cardinals try for a three-game sweep of the visiting Chicago Cubs
Pujols, who recently went a career-worst 105 at-bats without
going deep, hit his 11th and 12th home runs Saturday – including
the game-winner with two outs in the 12th inning to give St. Louis
(35-25) a 5-4 win over Chicago.
“You can do a lot of good things in two months and you can
struggle in two months,” Pujols said. “Hopefully, it’s my time
Pujols’ ninth career walk-off home run extended the Cubs’ losing
streak to a season-worst five games. He also went deep during
Friday’s series-opening 6-1 win and now has 50 home runs against
Chicago – his highest total against any team.
“I’m not in the habit of walking people with two out and nobody
on,” Cubs manager Mike Quade said. “I understand how good this guy
is, so we’ll have to rethink that a little bit.”
Carpenter (1-5, 4.52 ERA), who despite posting a solid 3.30 ERA
has yet to record a home win in five tries this season – his
longest such stretch during his tenure with the Cardinals – will
look to add to the Cubs’ woes.
The right-hander earned his only victory of the season during a
6-4 win May 10 at Wrigley Field despite allowing a career-worst 13
hits. He has since gone 0-3 with a 4.91 ERA.
Carpenter labored over five innings of Tuesday’s 4-3 win over
San Francisco, allowing two runs and seven hits over five innings
with a season-best eight strikeouts.
Carpenter had surrendered a total of two runs over five home
outings spanning 39 innings against Chicago (23-33) prior to
compiling a 5.84 ERA and losing both starts last year.
In contrast, Zambrano (5-2, 4.23) has gone 7-0 with a 1.41 ERA
over his last 11 starts in St. Louis – never allowing more than two
runs – since losing 2-0 there May 19, 2003, despite allowing one
The right-hander is coming off one of his strongest efforts of
the season, limiting Houston to one run and seven hits over eight
innings of Tuesday’s 7-3 loss.
While Zambrano has dominated the Cardinals on the mound at Busch
Stadium, he also owns a career .308 average against them and is 8
for 16 off Carpenter.
Carpenter won’t have to worry about facing injured outfielders
Alfonso Soriano and Marlon Byrd, who are batting a combined .338
against him, but Aramis Ramirez could return to the lineup
Ramirez, 23 for 64 against Carpenter, received seven stitches in
his left upper lip after being hit in the face by a ball Wednesday
and has not played since. Ramirez’s 26-game hitting streak against
the Cardinals is the longest since 1946.
Cardinals shortstop Ryan Theriot, who spent the first six-plus
seasons of his career with the Cubs, went 1 for 5 Saturday to
extend his hitting streak to 18 games – the longest active run in
the majors. He is batting .342 over that span.
Lance Berkman, who had been mired in a 3-for-27 slump over his
previous 11 home games prior to this series, is 3 for 9 with a home
run and four RBIs over the weekend. Berkman, however, is 11 for 71
(.155) against Zambrano.