The Cardinals will look to bounce back after being swept in their three-game series with the Dodgers by sending youngster Jaime Garcia to the mound when they open a weekend set with the D-backs.
Garcia has been beyond outstanding this season, showcasing a minuscule 1.47 ERA and 5-2 record through his 11 starts. In his last outing, Garcia went six strong innings, allowing only two earned runs. He did, however, allow a season-high eight hits and two walks, but his ability to battle and maintain composure was certainly encouraging. Friday will mark Garcia's first career start against the D-backs.
"He's consistently effective, and his stuff is plus," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "At times, and this is a testament to his potential, guys haven't lit him up. He's hung in there."
Garcia also added how important it was to be surrounded by such accomplished veterans.
"It helps to be around guys like [Adam] Wainwright and [Chris] Carpenter, with [Yadier] Molina as my catcher and [Dave] Duncan as my pitching coach," Garcia said. "I'm just going to try to get better and learn something new every day, and not get satisfied."
The Cardinals' offense, which scored only eight runs in their series vs. the Dodgers, needs a quick turnaround from sluggers Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday, who went a combined 2-for-21.
The D-backs are coming off a loss to the Braves where they battled back from being down five, but gave up four runs in the top of the ninth to lose, 11-7.
Arizona will rely upon starter Rodrigo Lopez -- 2-4 with a 4.27 ERA -- to hold the Cardinals at bay. Unfortunately, Lopez has allowed home runs in 10 of his 12 starts this season, including one against the Cardinals on April 19.
Cardinals starting pitchers have worked seven or more innings and allowed one earned run or fewer 17 times this season -- a Major League best. ... Tuesday's 1-0 loss marked the sixth time the Cardinals have been shut out this season.
D-backs: High pitch counts find D-backs rotation
The D-backs starting rotation entered Thursday averaging 101 pitches per game -- good for third highest in the Majors. "I've been pushing these starters quite a bit," manager A.J. Hinch said, before adding, "The 100-pitch count is glossy and a big number that everybody circles, but 110 or 115, depending on how they get there, is fine."
The D-backs' Gerardo Parra hit the first inside-the-park home run of his career Wednesday night against the Braves. ... The Cardinals are close to signing Jeff Suppan after he was released by the Brewers on Monday.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.