Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso has hit safely in 20 of his last 23 games. He's hitting .368 during the stretch, with 11 doubles.
Alonso entered Monday's series opener leading all National League rookies in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, hits and doubles. In limited action against the Cardinals in his career, he is 7-for-15 with a pair of doubles.
Teammate Will Venable has also been hot. Over his last 12 games, he's batting .333 with six extra-base hits, four RBIs and five runs scored. And playing the defending World Series champs is no problem for Venable. In his career against St. Louis, he is hitting .426, with seven doubles. That average is his highest against any NL opponent and includes a 4-for-10 line against Tuesday's starter, Adam Wainwright.
The entire season seems to have been one extended hot streak for Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal, who has been one of baseball's most prolific hitters. Entering play on Monday, Furcal led the NL in runs scored. He also ranked third in the league in hits, with 56, trailing San Francisco's Melky Cabrera and Atlanta's Michael Bourn.
Furcal is happy to see the Padres come to St. Louis, too. In his career against San Diego, he is hitting .284 with 21 doubles, seven triples and eight home runs. Against Tuesday's starter, Edinson Volquez, he is 1-for-3 with an RBI double.
Padres: Bitten by the injury bug
The Padres have battled numerous injuries this season. They have already used 38 players, second only to the 39 used by the Red Sox.
"Sometimes you are just unlucky with those kinds of things," said manager Bud Black. "We've been hit hard."
Volquez might not be too happy to start at Busch Stadium. In four career games there, he is 0-2 with a 7.50 ERA, with 15 hits allowed and six walks in just 12 innings.
Cardinals: Berkman to the disabled list
Lance Berkman went on the DL on Monday after tearing the meniscus in his right knee on Sunday. The Cardinals, who have put four players on the DL since last Monday, will be without Berkman for at least six to eight weeks.
"I've been around long enough to know that we're not going to keep everyone healthy all the time," manager Mike Matheny said. "There's been a few hits right in a row here, but still, the lineup we are throwing up there can do some damage. They're working hard and are going to keep fighting."
General manager John Mozeliak said that injuries couldn't be an excuse.
"Obviously, when you look at the amount of injuries that we're experiencing right now, that's not the norm," Mozeliak said. "But it can't be an excuse. One thing that we're always proud of is that we've got a lot of depth in our system. It's being tested."
Volquez has had trouble against the Cardinals in his career, especially against outfielder Matt Holliday. Holliday is hitting .333 against Volquez in his career, with two home runs and four RBIs.