The Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals continue a three-game series in the National League Central Saturday afternoon at Busch Stadium
Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals
Chicago has started its 10-game homestand with four consecutive losses after a 9-2 loss to St. Louis last night. The Cubs have now dropped to a dismal 15-28 against division opponents this year, including a 1-6 mark against their biggest rival. The series has been incredibly lopsided this year, as the club has been outscored 49-26 in the seven meetings. Offensively, third baseman Aramis Ramirez has cooled off dramatically, collecting just two hits in 24 at-bats. He is still leading the team with nine home runs and 23 RBI in July. Chicago is 6-21 in its last 27 tries as a road underdog and 2-7 on Saturday.
Cubs starting pitcher Rodrigo Lopez is 2-2 with a 3.49 ERA in 15 appearances (five starts) this season and is coming off a short relief appearance on July 24. He grabbed two outs in a Chicago 5-4 home win over the Astros in that particular outing, which followed a 6-1 victory in a previous start over Philadelphia. The right-hander is making his eighth appearance (second start) on the road, entering with an 0-1 mark and 3.00 ERA, registering four strikeouts in 12 frames. In seven career outings (five starts) versus the Cardinals, Lopez has a losing 2-3 record and 5.63 ERA, including an 0-1 mark and 9.00 ERA in two career outings in relief at Busch Stadium.
St. Louis entered this series two games back in the NL Central race and has now won five consecutive games against Chicago. The Cardinals were led offensively by third baseman David Freese, who drove in three runs with his sixth home run of the season, but first baseman Albert Pujols also pitched in with a 2 for 5 night. One of his hits was his 2,000th of his career, becoming only the fourth player in franchise history to accomplish that feat. St. Louis is 28-23 at home this season and 41-36 when facing right-handed starters.
Cardinals starting pitcher Kyle Lohse is 8-7 with a 3.46 ERA in 20 starts this season and will be aiming to snap a three-game losing streak. The right-hander picked up a no-decision in his latest effort, allowing two runs and four hits in five frames in a 4-3 road loss to the Pirates. Lohse has compiled a losing 2-4 mark and 3.86 ERA in eight home outings, managing to strike out just 27 batters in 58 1/3 frames. The 32-year-old will be facing the rival Cubs for the 12th time in his career, bringing in a 1-4 record and 6.51 ERA. He has also tallied a 2-3 record and 3.14 ERA in eight starts versus division opponents this year.
Bettors may elect to back the Cubs due to their even 31-31 record when following a loss, while the Cardinals are 4-9 in Lohse’s last 13 Saturday starts