Three-time NL MVP Albert Pujols is off to a brutal start to the season.
A trip to Arizona might not be the best place for him to break out of his slump.
Pujols, who has historically struggled at Chase Field, again tries to get his season on track Monday night when the St. Louis Cardinals open a three-game series against the Diamondbacks.
The Cardinals (3-6) are off to their worst start since opening the 1997 season 3-8, and some of it can be attributed to Pujols' early struggles.
Pujols is batting .143 with a homer - his lone extra-base hit - and four RBIs. His batting average is the lowest of his career through the first nine games of a season, and his five hits are his fewest through nine.
The nine-time All-Star was 0 for 5 in Sunday's 6-1 win over San Francisco and hit into his sixth double play - he had 23 all of last season - as St. Louis snapped a three-game losing streak.
"You can't get too worried about the way things are going this early," said Kyle Lohse, Sunday's winning pitcher. "Obviously you don't want it to turn into a trend. Most of us have been around long enough to know it's not going to last forever. We just have to weather the storm and get through it."
It might not be that easy for Pujols to get things turned around in Arizona.
In six games in Arizona last season, Pujols hit .174 with a homer and four RBIs. He is hitting .213 with three home runs and 10 RBIs in 12 games at Chase Field since 2008, his lowest batting average for any stadium he has appeared in at least 10 games.
While the Cardinals are still waiting for Pujols to heat up, the team received a boost Sunday with Matt Holliday returning to the lineup after missing the last seven games following an appendectomy April 1. Holliday scored the go-ahead run and added an RBI single.
Kyle McClellan (0-0, 3.00 ERA) takes the ball for the Cardinals in the series opener following an encouraging season debut.
McClellan gave up two runs and six hits in six innings in Tuesday's 3-2 win over Pittsburgh. The right-hander, in the rotation because of a season-ending injury to Adam Wainwright, struck out seven and walked one.
It could be tough for McClellan to build on this performance, however, as he is 0-2 with a 11.00 ERA in nine career relief appearances against the Diamondbacks, his highest ERA against any NL opponent.
Arizona (4-4) is coming off a 10-8 win over Cincinnati on Sunday, its third victory in four games. Chris Young hit the decisive three-run homer and Stephen Drew had four hits and three RBIs helping the Diamondbacks rally twice.
"We're going to be a persistent team," said Young, who has two homers and seven RBIs in his last four contests.
Young had three homers and five RBIs in eight games against the Cardinals in 2010, and is 2 for 6 with a homer lifetime against McClellan.
The Diamondbacks counter with Barry Enright (0-0, 6.00), who gave up four runs and seven hits in six innings in Tuesday's 6-5 loss to Chicago in his season debut.
This will be the right-hander's first start against the Cardinals since making his major league debut in St. Louis on June 30, when he allowed one run, four hits and four walks in five innings of a 4-2 victory. Pujols was 1 for 3 off Enright that day.