bout 30 miles west of St. Louis, Detwiler is coming off a 6-2 loss Sunday at the Chicago White Sox, which racke | Forum

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q123 Jan 9
ST. Jose Cruz Jersey . LOUIS -- On paper, the Oakland Athletics are the kind of team the St. Louis Cardinals should beat.At 55-72, Oakland is 19 1/2 games out of first place in the American League West and going nowhere fast.However, the games arent played on 8 1/2-by-11 sheets of paper, and the way St. Louis continues to struggle at Busch Stadium, the Athletics look like a threat to play a spoilers role in a three-game weekend series that starts Friday night at Busch Stadium.Fresh off an off day Thursday, Oakland arrived in town after drumming the American League Central-leader Indians two out of three at home, holding Cleveland to a single run in each game. The As also dumped the Baltimore Orioles, an AL East contender, three out of four games at home earlier this month.This has been kind of a theme for us this year, Oakland manager Bob Melvin said after his teams 5-1 win over Cleveland on Wednesday. Weve played well at times against good teams, then not so well against teams that arent as good. I cant figure us out.On the other hand, the Cardinals (67-59) are as easy to read as a rookie quarterbacks eyes. They are the majors best team on the road at 38-24, yet they cant consistently win at home, where their 10-6 loss to the New York Mets on Thursday night dropped them to 29-35.Two frequent bugaboos -- sketchy starting pitching and defense -- hampered them in the latest loss. Adam Wainwright didnt throw well but wasnt helped by a pair of key errors that led to five unearned runs.I wouldnt say thats the whole story, St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said of his teams leaky defense. We had a guy throw a good game against us. And thats a lot of runs that youre giving up.The Cardinals are guilty of 88 errors this year, the fourth-highest total in the majors. They also havent made several plays that werent counted as errors yet still extended innings and led to runs.Even so, St. Louis remains 1 1/2 games ahead of the Miami Marlins for the National Leagues second wild-card spot. And with two more long road trips coming up down the stretch, the Cardinals can be excused for liking their chances at notching a sixth consecutive postseason berth.St. Louis will send rookie right-hander Luke Weaver to the mound for his third major league start Friday. The hard-throwing Weaver (0-1, 5.00 ERA) is coming off a 4-2 loss Saturday night in Philadelphia, which nicked him for nine hits and three runs over five innings.He will be facing the As for the first time.The Athletics counter with left-hander Ross Detwiler (1-2, 5.91 ERA overall). He will be making his fourth start with Oakland since he was acquired from the Indians for cash last month, and he is 1-2 with a 5.94 ERA for the As.A product of Wentzville, Mo., about 30 miles west of St. Louis, Detwiler is coming off a 6-2 loss Sunday at the Chicago White Sox, which racked him for 10 hits and six runs over four innings.In five career games (two starts) against the Cardinals, Detwiler is 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA.