National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, September 19th
(All times Eastern)
St. Louis Cardinals (89-63) at Colorado Rockies (69-84), 3:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: St. Louis - Michael Wacha (3-1, 2.81)
Colorado - Roy Oswalt (0-6, 7.71)
(Sports Network) - The St. Louis Cardinals try to pad their lead atop the
National League Central when they shoot for a series win over the Colorado
Rockies Thursday in the finale of a four-game set at Coors Field.
The Cardinals posted a 4-3 win over the Rockies on Wednesday and grabbed a
two-game edge on the Pittsburgh Pirates in the division. The Pirates have lost
three in a row, including a recent 3-2 setback to the San Diego Padres.
St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright yielded three runs on 10 hits while striking
out eight batters in 7 2/3 innings for the win on Wednesday and went 3-for-3
at the plate with two RBI.
Yadier Molina and Matt Carpenter each had a pair of hits with an RBI in the
triumph, the Cardinals' ninth in their last 12 outings. Not only do the
Cardinals have to worry about the Pirates on their tails, but the Cincinnati
Reds sit 2 1/2 games off the pace.
"It's hard to ignore," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of the pennant
race. "We know what's going on in the rest of the league."
The magic number for St. Louis to clinch the NL Central is nine and the club
will visit the Milwaukee Brewers this weekend. The Cardinals, who posted an
11-4 win on Tuesday, are a season-best 26 games over .500 and hope to capture
home-field advantage in the NL soon.
Cardinals rookie Michael Wacha gets the ball Thursday and is 3-1 with a 2.81
earned run average in 13 games (7 starts). Wacha lost for the first time in
his career in Saturday's 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Seattle Mariners and
allowed two runs in five innings.
Wacha, a right-hander, has never faced the Rockies.
Colorado will try to split this set with the Cardinals and has lost nine of
its last 12 games. Tyler Chatwood was tagged for four runs on eight hits over
six innings in the loss for the Rockies, who won the opener of this set on
Monday and fell to 1-2 on a nine-game homestand.
"Those are the type of games you want to be in ... it's a playoff team and
he's one of the best pitchers in the league," Chatwood said. "That's the
competition you want to go out there against."
Troy Tulowitzki had two hits and two RBI in the loss. Rockies outfielder
Michael Cuddyer left the game with an elbow and wrist injury after diving to
make a catch in the sixth inning. He is considered day-to-day and leads the NL
in batting with a .331 average.
"The main thing is my wrist ... I caught it (and twisted it)," Cuddyer said on
the club's website. "Then I don't know if I hit a sprinkler head or what with
this forearm. I was running off the field and it looked like a golf ball, like
you could tee it up right off my arm. Grass shouldn't do that. I don't know
what I hit out there.
"I came out because of my wrist. I mean, the forearm is tight and swollen. I
guess you could say I came out for both. But the wrist is the one that bothers
Veteran starting pitcher Roy Oswalt hopes to crack the win column when he toes
the rubber Thursday for the Rockies. Oswalt is 0-6 with a 7.71 ERA in six
games (5 starts) with the club and pitched in Saturday's 9-2 loss at Arizona,
allowing two runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Oswalt has plenty of experience against the Cardinals from his days with the
Houston Astros and is 10-9 with a 3.19 ERA in 31 career games (30 starts).
Colorado lost two of three games at St. Louis from May 10-12 and went 2-5 in
last season's series with the Cardinals.
09/19 10:23:50 ET