Padres-Cardinals Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated May 22, 2012
Lance Berkman is out for awhile, but Tyler Greene is unexpectedly picking up the slack for the St. Louis Cardinals. Greene looks to continue his hot stretch at the plate as the Cardinals go for another win against the San Diego Padres in the middle game of this series Tuesday night. St. Louis (23-19) learned Monday it will be without Berkman for at least six weeks as he undergoes surgery on his injured right knee. That leaves the club without its first baseman and 2011 NL Comeback Player of the Year, who has a .333 average in just 13 games this season. Greene is doing his part to make up for Berkman's absence. The second baseman is hitting .308 with four doubles, three homers and six RBIs during an 11-game stretch that started with a career-best two homers and four RBIs in a win at Houston on May 6. He's been even better over the past five contests, going 8 for 17 with five extra-base hits. That includes going 3 for 4 with a double, a homer and two RBIs to lead the Cardinals to a 4-3 win over San Diego (16-27) on Monday. The 2005 first-round pick has a career average of .225 in parts of four seasons. "You're just going to see a game that just absolutely blows your drawers off," manager Mike Matheny said. "That's what excites you about what he can do on a consistent basis." Greene's recent success can be traced to a change in his swing - he's lowered his elbow for a more even stroke. "I've felt great since that day in Houston, and I think it's starting to show," Greene said. "The adjustments we made are really paying off." St. Louis surely hopes so as it's won just three of 11 after starting this seven-game homestand in positive fashion. "We just need to get something positive going," Matheny said. "They've been fighting. They deserve some wins." Matheny is scheduled to give the ball to Adam Wainwright (2-5, 5.77 ERA), who has lost his last two starts while surrendering 10 runs and 15 hits with nine walks in 10 innings. The right-hander, a 20-game winner in 2010, is trying to show improvement after missing last year due to elbow surgery. "Everybody keeps telling me, 'Just be patient. It's coming. You're looking better and better,'" he said. "But it's tough when you're coming from where I'm coming from, the seasons I've had in the past, it's tough to hear that and not get frustrated because I expect to be great. I haven't been great but I feel like the ball's coming out better." Wainwright will now face the Padres for the first time this season, and he's 2-1 with a 0.82 ERA in three starts against them. San Diego is scheduled to counter with Edinson Volquez (2-3, 3.04), who hasn't beaten the Cardinals in almost four years. The right-hander is 0-3 with a 7.36 ERA in five starts against them since a win Aug. 17, 2008. All of those meetings came with Cincinnati, including an 0-2 record in three starts at St. Louis. Volquez enters this meeting coming off one of his worst performances of the season. He surrendered a season-high five runs and seven hits with six strikeouts in three walks in five innings of an 8-1 defeat to Los Angeles on Thursday. That was a drastic change after he went 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA over his previous four starts, all Padres victories.
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