Dropped Out of First

The Arizona Diamondbacks' latest funk has caused them to drop out of first place in the NL West. It won't be easy getting back on track, either, as they visit a city where they've had minimal success.

The Diamondbacks look to avoid losing their third straight game when they open a four-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on Monday night.

Oddsmakers have made Arizona -130 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 8ev total runs (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 77% of bets for this game have been placed on Chicago -110 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Arizona (46-37) was in first place in the division on June 24, but has lost five of its last seven games to fall into third place in the NL West, 1 1/2 games back of first-place San Diego.

The Diamondbacks suffered their most lopsided defeat of the season on Sunday, losing 13-0 to San Francisco, and have scored just one run in losing their last two games.

They are tied with Atlanta for the third-best road record in the NL (21-18), but winning in St. Louis (36-42) has been problematic for Arizona.

The Diamondbacks lost two of three at Busch Stadium last season, and have not won a series there since 2003. They are 11-20 all-time in regular-season play in St. Louis, their worst record at any NL city.

Brandon Webb (8-5, 3.05 ERA) tries to lead Arizona to a rare win at Busch Stadium, and build his All-Star case when he takes the hill on Monday.

Webb won last season's NL Cy Young Award and is having a solid 2007, but has not yet been named to the NL All-Star team. He can still make consecutive All-Star trips, though, if fans choose him as part of the final vote.

The right-hander is coming off one of his better starts of the season, as he gave up seven hits and five walks in seven innings of Wednesday's 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. He improved to 5-2 in his last seven starts, and Arizona is 12-5 this season with its ace on the mound.

"That's kind of what your No. 1 pitcher is supposed to do: Go out there and give your team a good chance to win,'' Webb said. "So that definitely was satisfying."

Webb's best start of his 2006 Cy Young season came against St. Louis, as he threw a one-hitter in the Diamondbacks' 3-0 victory on Sept. 9. The victory snapped a three-game losing streak to the Cardinals, as he improved to 1-3 with a 4.08 ERA in five career starts against them.

St. Louis defeated Cincinnati 11-7 on Sunday, and has alternated wins and losses in its last six games.

Ryan Ludwick hit a three-run homer and a solo shot on Sunday, while Chris Duncan hit his 15th home run of the season.

Albert Pujols, who was selected to his sixth All-Star game on Sunday, is just 3-for-15 (.200) with a double in his career against Webb.

Braden Looper (6-6, 4.66) is slated to come off the disabled list and pitch Monday's series opener, after missing the last two weeks with a right shoulder strain.

Looper got knocked around in his last two starts before being placed on the DL, giving up 13 runs in 10 1-3 innings in those games. The right-hander is a starting pitcher this season for the first time in his 10-year career, and has already thrown 9 2-3 more innings than he threw all of last season.

This will be Looper's first career start against the Diamondbacks, after 26 career relief appearances against them. He is 1-2 with 10 saves in 11 opportunities and a 2.42 ERA lifetime against Arizona.

by: Michael Cash - thespread.com – Email Us

More MLB Baseball coverage from theSpread.com

 - MLB news wire
 - Current MLB Injuries
 - 2007 MLB standings
 - 2007 MLB schedule
 - 2007 MLB Umpire sheet
 - 2007 MLB stats
 - MLB scoreboard
 - Expert MLB picks
 - Accuscore predictions
 - Comments and discussion
 - Signup for theSpread.com daily newsletter
 - MLB home

MLB Headlines

MLB Top Stories

Thumbnail Opening 2018 World Series Odds The 2018 World Series opening odds have been released. Who is favored, who is the biggest challenger, and who is also in the mix?
Thumbnail Astros vs. Dodgers Pick Are the Houston Astros going to clinch their first-ever World Series title Wednesday night in Game 7 with an upset win at the Los Angeles Dodgers? Game time is...
Thumbnail Astros vs. Dodgers Pick Can the Houston Astros clinch their first-ever World Series title Tuesday night in Game 6 at the Los Angeles...
Thumbnail Dodgers vs. Astros Pick Are the Los Angeles Dodgers going to ride Clayton Kershaw to a victory over the host Houston Astros in a pivotal Game 5 of the World Series Sunday night? First pitch is at...
Thumbnail Dodgers vs. Astros Pick Are the Houston Astros going to win a third straight game over the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers Saturday night in Game 4 of the World Series? First pitch is at...

MLB Team Pages