Mariners-Cardinals Preview

The St. Louis Cardinals are surely happy to be home following a

difficult road trip, especially with Adam Wainwright set to take

the mound.

Wainwright looks to improve to 6-0 in as many starts at Busch

Stadium as the Cardinals return to interleague play to face the

struggling Seattle Mariners on Monday night.

St. Louis (34-29) finds itself chasing first-place Cincinnati in

the NL Central following its 1-5 trip, which featured offensive

problems and shaky pitching.

The team hit .227 on the trip, with sluggers Albert Pujols and

Matt Holliday combining to go 6 for 44 (.136) with three RBIs.

Pujols had all three RBIs in Sunday’s 7-5 loss at Arizona.

He helped erase a three-run deficit in the ninth, but the

Cardinals lost in the bottom of the inning on a walk-off home run

by Chris Young.

“Tough loss and tough road trip,” manager Tony La Russa said.

“We gave ourselves a great chance and I thought we were going to

pull it off but we didn’t.”

Wainwright (8-4, 2.30 ERA) also had problems on the trip,

walking a season-high five and matching a season high by allowing

four runs in six innings of a 4-3 loss to the Dodgers on

Wednesday.

The right-hander has been consistently brilliant at home, and he

notched his first career shutout there June 4 with a two-hitter in

an 8-0 win over Milwaukee. He’s 5-0 with a 1.62 ERA and two

complete games at Busch Stadium this year.

The Cardinals have won nine of 13 in St. Louis, and they swept

Seattle in the Mariners’ only previous visit from July 2-4,

2004.

Seattle (24-39) is scuffling on its road trip. The last-place

Mariners are 9-22 on the road, and they had lost five straight

before avoiding a sweep at San Diego with Sunday’s 4-2 win.

Milton Bradley’s two-run home run was just the third homer in 10

games for the Mariners, who rank last in the majors with 35 home

runs.

“It was a must-win,” Bradley said. “The way we’ve been playing

was unacceptable. The way I’ve been playing has been unacceptable.

It’s time to do something about it, starting with myself.”

Seattle will have Luke French (0-0, 6.35) on the mound for his

first start in the majors this season.

The left-hander replaces Ian Snell in the rotation after Snell

allowed eight runs in 1 2-3 innings of a 12-2 loss at Texas on

Wednesday. French gave up four runs in 5 1-3 innings of relief that

night.

“I just love to pitch, regardless (if it’s) bullpen or

starting,” French told the Mariners’ official website. “But

starting is something I’ve always done, so it’s exciting.”

The 24-year-old dominated minor league hitters for Triple-A

Tacoma this year, going 6-2 with a 1.93 ERA in 11 starts. He had a

6.38 ERA in seven starts for the Mariners in 2009, though.

Seattle has lost both of its interleague series this season –

both to the Padres – while the Cardinals took two of three from the

visiting Los Angeles Angels from May 21-23. St. Louis has won three

of four home series against AL opponents.