Mired in their longest losing streak of the season, the St. Louis Cardinals aren't about to panic.
The Cardinals look to avoid a fifth consecutive loss when they open a three-game road series with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night.
St. Louis (33-27) had won seven of nine and was on the verge of sweeping Milwaukee at home Sunday, but dropped the finale with Brewers, then suffered a three-game sweep at Los Angeles.
Despite the fact they're seeking to avoid losing five in a row for the first time since June 5-9 of last season, the Cardinals don't seem too concerned.
"We're (1 1/2 games) out of first place and we haven't played close to the way we can or will play," pitcher Adam Wainwright told the Cardinals' official website. "I'd say we're in good shape."
They're often in good shape in Arizona, where they've won four of six against the Diamondbacks (24-37). St. Louis scored 20 runs when it took two of three at Chase Field from April 19-21.
In order to have another successful visit, the Cardinals will likely need better production from stars like Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday than they got against the Dodgers. The pair went 2 for 21 versus Los Angeles as St. Louis totaled seven runs in that series.
Pujols went 2 for 12 with a homer at Arizona in April, and is 0 for 8 against Diamondbacks scheduled starter Rodrigo Lopez (2-4, 4.27 ERA). Holliday has fared better against the right-hander, going 3 for 7 with two doubles and a homer.
Lopez is 2-1 with a 5.25 ERA in four starts against St. Louis. He allowed two runs in seven innings, but didn't factor in the decision of a 4-2 loss to the Cardinals on April 19.
Lopez will try to avoid a third consecutive loss overall. He gave up three runs in seven innings of a 3-2 loss to major league wins and ERA leader Ubaldo Jimenez and Colorado on Sunday.
The Cardinals hope rookie Jaime Garcia (5-2, 1.47) can help end their skid. Garcia, who hasn't lost since May 8, is 3-2 with a 1.73 ERA in six road starts.
"He's consistently effective," 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."
La Russa, however, feels the 23-year-old left-hander can pitch better after giving up three runs in six innings in consecutive starts. He'd yielded two runs or fewer in eight of his previous nine outings.
"It was one of those nights," La Russa said after Garcia's last start, a 4-3, 10-inning loss to Milwaukee on Sunday. "We have to identify why he wasn't quite as sharp."
The Diamondbacks, who have never faced Garcia, will try to bounce back from Thursday's 11-7 loss to Atlanta.
Kelly Johnson drove in three runs and Chris Young hit his 10th home run, but Arizona fell to 4-3 since returning home after a season-high 10-game skid.
Last in the NL West, the Diamondbacks struck out a season-high 16 times to increase their major league-leading total to 570.
"We're long past it being a concern,. The more we talk about it, the more it happens, I think," manager A.J. Hinch said.
Johnson, batting .359 in his last 10 games against the Cardinals, is 11 for 27 with seven RBIs in his last seven games overall.