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St. Louis vs. Pittsburgh, 11 April 2007

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12:35 PM, WPGB (no local TV for this one, unfortunately)

Adam Wainwright (1-0, 1.29) vs. Paul Maholm (0-1, 7.20).

This is an early game (and if you live on the West Coast like I do, it's very early), so I'm putting the game thread up tonight.

This is only Wainwright's second career start, but nearly all his minor-league appearances came as a starter, and he's already had success in the majors as a reliever. Of all the weird project types that currently comprise the Cardinals' rotation, Wainwright and Anthony Reyes probably have the best chance at long-term success.

Overall, the Cardinals' ragtag rotation has held up, and the team's 3.16 ERA ranks sixth in baseball. Of course, that's not to say that the Cards should feel good about things going forward. The three pitchers St. Louis is trotting out for this series had 19 total games started in the majors before the series began, and 17 of those were by Randy Keisler. Without Chris Carpenter, the Redbirds are in serious trouble, and Carpenter should be out for at least the rest of this month. As for that 3.16 ERA, you can chalk a lot of that up to the Cardinals' already playing the Bucs twice this year. If the Bucs can't get to Braden Looper and Keisler, it's fair to ask who they can get to.

The Bucs have scored fewer runs (26) this season than the Cleveland Indians, who have played half as many games. Much of the problem so far is that three players - Adam LaRoche, Ronny Paulino and Chris Duffy - have been offensive black holes. Duffy's just doing what Duffy does, but the Pirates do have reason to expect that their offense will improve somewhat once LaRoche and Paulino's bats wake up.

Lineups-

Cardinals:
Eckstein, SS
Taguchi, LF
Pujols, 1B
Spiezio, 3B
Wilson, RF
Edmonds, CF
Molina, C
Miles, 2B
Wainwright, P

Pirates:
Duffy, CF
Wilson, SS
Sanchez, 2B
Bay, LF
Nady, RF
Eldred, 1B
Bautista, 3B
Cota, C
Maholm, P

And here's the box score.