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|Cardinals, Cubs & Sox Off Monday; More Interleague Play Awaits
|It's an off night for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Chicago Cubs and the red-hot Chicago White Sox Monday night.
The three teams gear up for more interleague play Tuesday night after two of the three had successful three-game stands against teams from the other league.
The Cardinals were unable to complete the sweep against the Oakland A's, who won 3-2 Sunday at Busch Stadium. Matt Holliday, moved by manager Tony LaRussa into the number two spot in the batting order, has responded with home runs in his last three games, including two Sunday in a losing cause. He hit four homers in the series against Oakland. Holliday's power numbers have been way down this season and he's struggled hitting with runners on base. The Cardinals hope he's back to being the slugger he's been his entire career.
Holliday says it's a long season and he's not panicking. "I mean, you know, it's a day-to-day thing," Holliday said. "Yeah, you feel more confident when you get results...it's a day-to-day battle (and) you just run it out."
Holliday now has 10 home runs on the season to go along with a .302 average and 33 RBIs.
St. Louis, with a 38-31 record, leads the NL Central by a game and a half over Cincinnati. The Cards begin at three-game series Tuesday night in Toronto against a Blue Jays team that leads Major League Baseball with 106 home runs. The Cardinals have 67, which is 12th among baseball's 30 teams. Toronto has a 38-32 record and is 5 1/2 games behind the American League East leading New York Yankees.
Surprising rookie Jaime Garcia (6-3) goes for his seventh win of the season for the Redbirds against Toronto's Brett Cecil, who is 7-3. Garcia's 1.59 ERA is the second lowest in baseball. The Cardinal pitching staff is #2 in MLB with a 3.19 ERA. Toronto #18 with a 4.22 ERA.
The Chicago Cubs hope to build on a 12-1 whipping of the Los Angeles Angels Sunday at Wrigley Field to avoid being swept. The Cubs, at 31-38, are seven games behind the Cardinals in the NL Central. Next up is a three-game series in Seattle Tuesday night against the Mariners and former teammate Milton Bradley. Seattle, despite spending a lot of money in the offseason, is a disappointing 28-41 and in last place in the American League West - 13 games behind first-place Texas.
Ryan Dempster gets the start for the Cubs. He won his last outing to improve to 5-5 on the season. The Cubs are 10th in MLB with a 3.92 team ERA. Seattle has struggled at the plate. The Mariners are 28th in baseball with a .240 batting average.
Cubs skipper Lou Piniella thinks struggling third baseman Aramis Ramirez should be ready to come off the disabled list Wednesday. Ramirez was 1-for-6 at the plate in two games at Peoria over the weekend as he rehabbed his ailing left thumb.
The White Sox have won six straight games and climbed back to the .500 mark, 34-34, following an 8-1 road trip that included sweeps at Pittsburgh and Washington. The only loss was against the Cubs over a week ago when Ted Lilly took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the southsiders. He wound up surrendering one hit in a 1-0 Cubs victory.
The Sox begin a series in Atlanta Tuesday night against the Braves, which are playing their best baseball. Atlanta, with a 41-28 record, has won five in a row and eight of 10 to take a 2 1/2 game lead over the New York Mets in the NL East. The Sox still trail Minnesota by 5 1/2 games in the AL Central.
John Danks, who's 6-5 with the lowest ERA among White Sox starters (3.18), will take the mound for Chicago. Atlanta will counter with 7-3 Tommy Hanson.