The St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs will kick off their first series of the year on Tuesday in style, with long-time aces Chris Carpenter and Carlos Zambrano scheduled to open a night game at Wrigley Field. Zambrano has four wins, and Carpenter zero, but both find themselves with ERAs over 4.00 after a month of baseball. Zambrano's trump card over Carpenter, besides run support, is his home run rate; Carpenter's struggled with the longball in 2011, allowing six in 43 innings—just one fewer than he allowed in 193 innings in 2009.
The series will continue Wednesday night, when Jake Westbrook takes on the Cubs' big offseason acquisition, 1-4 Matt Garza. Westbrook is coming off his best start of the season, an eight strikeout performance, but the battering he took early in the season still shows in his 6.14 ERA. Garza has put together some outstanding peripherals to start the season, with 58 strikeouts against 13 walks in just 44.2 innings, but a high BAbip—.402 through seven starts—has left him in the lurch so far.
The series concludes Thursday, when Jaime Garcia is set to take on Casey Coleman. Coleman's been undistinguished in his first 13 MLB starts, spread across two years, but at 23 he's still got a lot of growing to do. Garcia, 24, pitched his second shutout of the season last week, when he just missed throwing a perfect game and had to settle for a one-hitter.
After this three game set the Cardinals will head to Great American Ball Park, to take on the Cincinnati Reds.