Tuesday, September 11 Great American Ball Park | 6:10 PM CT
Mark Mulder, LHP (0-1, 13.50)
Cardinals (69-72) @ Matt Belisle, RHP (7-8, 5.44)
Cardinals: If you want reasons for optimism, Mulder's 2007 debut provided them. If you want reasons for pessimism, those were evident as well. The question is how much Mulder improves going forward. If he can sustain the sharpness and velocity he showed in his first inning, he can give St. Louis a boost. More likely it will be hit-or-miss, with some excellent innings and some shaky ones.
Reds: Belisle allowed five earned runs on six hits with one walk and no strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings but got a no-decision in the Reds' 11-7 loss to the Mets last Tuesday. The right-hander was given a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the fifth but sparked a five-run Mets sixth by giving up Carlos Beltran's game-tying two-run homer on a flat 2-1 sinker. Belisle also allowed a three-run homer in the second inning to Paul Lo Duca. He's allowed 24 long balls in 26 big league starts this season.
Wednesday, September 12 Great American Ball Park | 6:10 PM CT
Mike Maroth, LHP (5-6, 6.87)
Cardinals (69-72) @ Bronson Arroyo, RHP (8-14, 4.40)
Cardinals: Tony La Russa will shuffle his rotation this week, pushing back Adam Wainwright and Braden Looper to give them an extra day of rest. Needing a starter on Wednesday, La Russa will go with what he calls a "bullpen game," in which multiple pitchers are likely to see action, with Mike Maroth a likely candidate to open the game. Maroth has a 9.29 ERA in seven starts for the Cards this year.
Reds: Arroyo pitched 7 2/3 innings during a smooth 11-4 win over the Brewers on Friday night. The right-hander had a 10-0 lead through three innings as he allowed three earned runs and five hits with one walk and eight strikeouts. He retired 11 of his first 12 batters and didn't allow a run until Prince Fielder led off the Brewers' fifth with a solo homer. It was a departure in terms of run support for Arroyo. The Reds scored two runs or less in 13 of his 30 starts.
Thursday, September 13 Great American Ball Park | 11:35 AM CT
Adam Wainwright, RHP (13-10, 3.75)
Cardinals (69-72) @ Aaron Harang, RHP (14-4, 3.64)
Cardinals: Wainwright said he threw the ball better than he had in many games this season, but came up on the short end of the decision against the D-backs his last time out, as he was outdueled by defending Cy Young Award winner Brandon Webb. Wainwright allowed three runs -- two earned -- in six innings, and he felt he did a good job of painting the corners. Wainwright's 2.48 ERA since the All-Star Game is the second best in the National League over that period, trailing only Webb.
Reds: Harang pitched seven strong innings on Saturday, but he was burned twice by the Brewers' Prince Fielder, who hit his 43rd home run, walked and scored on a sacrifice fly. Harang allowed two earned runs on seven hits. He walked two and struck out seven in a 4-3 Reds loss. Harang became the first Reds pitcher since Jose Rijo to throw 200 or more innings in three consecutive seasons.
Friday, September 14 Busch Stadium | 7:10 PM CT
Carlos Zambrano, RHP (15-12, 4.26)
Cubs (73-70) @ Braden Looper, RHP (12-10, 4.70)
Cubs: Zambrano snapped his career-high five-game losing streak in his last start Saturday in Pittsburgh, and is being given an extra day of rest so he can face the Cardinals. He's 2-0 this season against St. Louis. Against the Pirates, Big Z gave up one run on two hits over six-plus innings and struck out eight. The only concern was the five walks issued. He has walked 10 in his last two games.
Cardinals: Looper entered his last start on Saturday against Arizona having not allowed a run in his previous two starts and just two runs in his last three. However, he gave up seven runs -- six earned -- in just 3 2/3 innings. He got a no-decision in a game the Cards eventually lost. Looper said his mechanics were out of whack, and he couldn't make the in-game adjustments to fix them.
Saturday, September 15 Busch Stadium | 12:10 PM CT
Ted Lilly, LHP (15-7, 3.85)
Cubs (73-70) @ Joel Pineiro, RHP (5-4, 4.79)
Cubs: This will be Lilly's second start against the Cardinals in a week. He gave up three runs on five hits over seven innings on Monday in a makeup game, striking out seven. Can he top that? Jim Edmonds and So Taguchi both homered off the lefty, who did hold Albert Pujols to a double. Lilly also notched his first career double, driving in a run, as well. His next win will set a career high.
Cardinals: Pineiro was like Superman in his last start: Up, up and away. He left all of his pitches up in the zone in a five-run fourth inning against the Cubs and they made him pay. He gave up two home runs, three doubles and a single before leaving. It was by far his worst start since coming over to St. Louis in a deadline deal with Boston. He took full responsibility for his performance and promised to right the ship before Saturday.
Saturday, September 15 Busch Stadium | 7:10 PM CT
Sean Marshall, LHP (7-7, 3.92)
Cubs (73-70) @ To be announced
Cubs: Marshall will make his first start since Aug. 31. That game was against the Astros, and the lefty gave up four runs -- one earned -- on five hits and four walks over 3 2/3 innings. He was switched to the 'pen when the Cubs acquired Steve Trachsel, and has made one relief outing so far. The Cubs are hoping Marshall can benefit from the time off.
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