|AL West Leading Arizona goes for sweep of St. Louis Cardinals|
|Sunday, 09 September 2007 06:57|
Folding the Cards
For the St. Louis Cardinals to avoid falling further back in the NL Central standings, they'll need to have Brad Thompson shine in a spot start to end a road losing streak. Cooling off Arizona's Doug Davis during his second-half surge would also help.
St. Louis will try to avoid dropping its fifth straight game and avoid a sweep by Arizona as the teams conclude their three-game weekend series on Sunday.
Oddsmakers from Bodog.com have made Arizona -135 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 9 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 50% of bets for this game have been placed on Arizona -135 (View MLB Bet Percentages).
Trailing 3-0 after one inning on Saturday, the Cardinals (69-70) rallied with seven in the third, but couldn't hold the lead and lost 9-8. With the Cubs and Brewers winning earlier, St. Louis dropped two games behind the Chicago and Milwaukee in the division.
"The pitchers just had a tough night. We didn't score the last four (innings),'' Cardinal manager Tony La Russa said. "It was a very gutty loss, a tough loss.''
St. Louis hopes a rare start by Thompson (6-5, 5.07 ERA) can help them draw closer in the Central before it meets the Cubs on Monday in a makeup game at Chicago. The right-hander, who will make his first start since July 28, is 4-3 with a 5.02 ERA in 13 such appearances, and St. Louis is 10-3 in those games.
Thompson improved to 2-1 when starting on the road after defeating Colorado on May 31. Since then, he's gone 0-2 with a 6.04 ERA in four road starts. Over his last 22 1-3 innings as a starter away from Busch Stadium, Thompson has yielded 15 runs, 29 hits and walked 10.
The Cardinals' offense has given him almost no help, providing only two runs of support.
For his career, Thompson has no record and 6.75 ERA in two appearances against the Diamondbacks - both in relief at Chase Field.
Davis (13-11, 3.98), meanwhile, will try continue his second-half surge for Arizona (80-63), and avenge a loss to the Cardinals earlier this season.
The left-hander was beaten by St. Louis on July 5, and closed out the first half of the season with a record of 5-10 and a 4.26 ERA in 18 starts. Following the All-Star break, though, Davis is 8-1 with a 3.54 ERA in 11 starts and has allowed two runs over less in six of those outings.
Davis established a new career high for single-season wins after Arizona routed San Diego 9-1 on Tuesday. The left-hander was wild, issuing five walks, but also allowed just one run and struck out five over seven innings.
"He's been huge for us down the stretch," Arizona's Tony Clark said of Davis. "He's simply doing what he's capable of doing."
Albert Pujols had three of the Cardinals' nine hits Saturday, and is hitting .478 (11-for-23) against Arizona this year with only five RBIs. He's hitting .308 (8-for-26) with two homers and eight RBIs lifetime against Davis.
Stephen Drew's three-run homer keyed a five-run fifth on Saturday, and Arizona moved two games ahead of San Diego in the NL West as the Padres lost to Colorado earlier in the night.
``There are several guys who all read the paper and they know where we are,'' Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said. ``You can't help it, but I think they try not to look too far ahead. We just want to look at game to game and series to series.''
Jose Valverde - the eighth pitcher and final pitcher used by Arizona on Saturday - earned his major league-leading 44th save in 51 chances. The right-hander has converted his last four save opportunities against the Cardinals since May 2006, limiting them to four hits.
by: Michael Cash - thespread.com – Email Us
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