Pitching Matchup: John Lackey (2-2, 4.87 ERA) hopefully will bounce back from a loss to the Brewers in his last start, in which he gave up 6 earned runs. Lackey has given up at least 4 runs in 4 of his 7 starts with St. Louis. However, it is encouraging that he has walked only four batters in his last 25 1/3 innings.

Alfredo Simon (13-10, 3.52 ERA) has struggled so far in the second half, losing 7 of his last 8 decisions. He lasted only 4 innings, giving up 6 earned runs, against the Mets in his last start. In 7 of his last 10 starts, Simon has failed to last longer than 5 innings.

The Skinny: Both starters have encountered problems since the All-Star break. If the Cardinals lineup, which has been hot recently, can get Lackey run support, we may see Simon again unable to go deep into the game. The Cardinals, although can breathe with the current 4 1/2 lead in the NL central, would like to do more than split this four-game series with Cincinnati.