Pena starting to show signs of life for Cubs

How the St. Louis Cardinals handle two former Tampa Bay Rays will be one storyline worth watching as the Cardinals and Chicago Cubs play on Wednesday at Wrigley Field (8 ET on ESPN).

Carlos Pena -- who signed a one-year, $10 million contract in December -- is hitting just .213, but is showing signs of life. In his past six games, he's 8-for-19 (.421) with three home runs. And on Wednesday, he'll face Jake Westbrook, a pitcher he's had success against in his career.

Pena is 10-for-32 with five doubles and four home runs against Westbrook, but he's also struck out 10 times.

While Westbrook has struck out Pena once every 3.2 at-bats, he has not had similar strikeout success against the free-swinging Alfonso Soriano. Although he's just 3-for-21 (.143) against Westbrook, Soriano has struck out only twice. That means Soriano's batting average on balls in play against Westbrook is just .158 (3-for-19). A typical batting average on balls in play usually is around .295 to .300.

Opposing Westbrook will be Matt Garza, who's winless at Wrigley Field this season (0-2 in four starts) despite a 3.25 ERA. Garza has struck out 58 batters in his seven starts this season, and he's allowed only one home run. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only two other National League pitchers in the past 25 years had at least that many strikeouts while giving up no more than one home run in their first seven starts of a season: David Cone in 1992 with the Mets and Tim Lincecum in 2009 with the San Francisco Giants.

Garza, who came to Chicago in January in trade and is 1-4 overall, has not fared well against No. 4 and 5 hitters in his seven starts. He's allowed 18 hits in 43 at-bats (.419 BA), although the four-five hitters have yet to hit a home run off him.

And it would be somewhat of a surprise if the Cardinals' No. 4 hitter, Matt Holliday, took Garza deep. Holliday has three extra-base hits and just one home run -- which came in 2006 -- in 91 at-bats at Wrigley Field.

Lance Berkman, who hits behind Holliday, will be playing in his 162nd career game against the Cubs -- the equivalent of a full season. He's a .249 hitter against them with 30 HRs, 88 RBIs and 147 strikeouts. However, Berkman does have eight home runs on the road this season, after hitting just four in 57 road games in 2010.

Most Double Plays Hit Into
This Season

As for Albert Pujols, who hits in front of Holliday, he's coming off his first four-hit game of the season on Tuesday. And although he hasn't hit a home run since April 23, Pujols has hit 47 home runs against the Cubs (25 at Wrigley), the most he's hit against any team.

Pujols, however, has had some struggles early this season.

He's accounted for almost 25 percent of the double plays that St. Louis has hit into this season. The Cardinals have hit into a major league-leading 45 double plays, including 11 by Pujols. (Only Torii Hunter has hit into more, with 12.)

He's also drawing fewer walks per at-bats (one every 9.8 plate appearances) compared to recent seasons, and is hitting just .238 on outside pitches. In 2009 and 2010, he hit .320 on those pitches.

-- Jon Kramer and Mark Simon contributed to this report.