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News » Cardinals-Phillies Preview 2008-07-09


Cardinals-Phillies Preview 2008-07-09


Cardinals-Phillies Preview 2008-07-09
Mark Mulder would like to finally put his shoulder troubles behind him.

He hopes his first start in almost 10 months can help him do just that Wednesday night when the St. Louis Cardinals face the struggling Philadelphia Phillies in the middle game of their series at Citizens Bank Park.

Mulder (0-0, 13.50 ERA) went 0-3 with a 12.27 ERA in three starts last season as he attempted to come back from left shoulder surgery, stemming from an injury suffered in June 2006.

The left-hander struggled in his return last year, failing to last more than four innings in any of his appearances. He made his last start on Sept. 16 before his season ended three days later with another shoulder procedure.

Mulder, a two-time All-Star and the 2001 AL Cy Young runner-up, hasn't pitched a full season in the majors since 2005, when he went 16-8 with a 3.64 ERA in 32 starts for Oakland. He is 6-10 with a 7.68 ERA in 20 starts since.

The Cardinals (51-40) have been trying to ease him back into the rotation this season, using him twice out of the bullpen.

"Of course I want to be starting, but right now I really could care less," Mulder said after allowing two hits in a scoreless ninth inning of a 7-1 win over New York on June 30.

He didn't fare well in his next appearance, blowing a save and allowing two runs and two hits while hitting a batter in one-third of an inning in an 8-7 loss to the Mets.

Despite that performance, the Cardinals have put him in the rotation after optioning right-hander Mitchell Boggs to Triple-A Memphis on Sunday. Mulder is 0-1 with a 5.21 ERA in three starts against the Phillies (48-43), but hasn't faced them since April 5, 2006.

He'll try to help St. Louis build on Tuesday's 2-0 win, its third straight on the road.

Rick Ankiel and Ryan Ludwick homered as Joel Pineiro and three relievers combined on a six-hitter for the Cardinals, who remained 3 1/2 games behind the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs.

Tuesday's loss was the fourth straight overall for East-leading Philadelphia, which has dropped nine of 10 at home. The Philllies have been outscored 53-27 while hitting .196 during that 1-9 home skid.

"We have to be able to score," Phillies left fielder Pat Burrell said. "Everyone's frustrated because we're getting pretty good pitching, but we haven't been consistent at the plate."

Burrell has struggled in the last 11 games at Citizens Bank Park, hitting .189 with one homer and two RBIs. However, he went 2-for-3 on Tuesday to improve to 16-for-48 (.333) with four homers and seven RBIs in his last 14 games overall.

The Phillies will turn to J.A. Happ (0-0, 3.86), who gets his second start of the season after being recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Friday.

The rookie left-hander yielded two runs and three hits with three strikeouts and four walks in 4 2-3 innings of Friday's 3-2 win over New York.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: July 9, 2008

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