The Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals continue their rivalry with the second game of a weekend series at Busch Stadium
Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals
Chicago dropped a 6-1 contest at St. Louis last night in the series opener and had two-thirds of its starting outfield and other key offensive players on the bench due to injuries. “We’re going to have to try to shut clubs down and the flip side of that is you don’t want your starters going out there thinking they can’t give up a run or two,” Cubs manager Mike Quade said. “In the long run, we’ll be better served by the bullpen doing their job and the starters giving us quality innings as well.” First baseman Carlos Pena needs to continue being a force offensively in order for the club to pick up wins, going 1-for-3 with the team’s only run last night and reaching base safely in 25 of his past 27 contests. The Cubs have still won five of their last six meetings with the Cardinals at Busch Stadium and carry a 22-21 all-time mark at the new version of the venue. Chicago is 7-17 versus division opponents this year.
Cubs starting pitcher Randy Wells is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in two starts this season and is coming off a dreadful start at home versus the Pirates. The right-hander allowed five runs on five hits over four innings in a 10-0 loss. Wells is 2-2 with a 3.91 ERA in five games (four starts) against the Cardinals and has won his last two outings. In 27 career road starts, he has tallied a 9-11 mark and 3.69 ERA, as opponents have hit .267 against him.
St. Louis handed an injury-depleted Chicago club a loss Friday night and enters the weekend with a two-game lead in the NL Central division. The Cardinals jumped out to an early lead in the series opener with a three-run homer by Lance Berkman, while star first baseman Albert Pujols also provided a blast to avoid their longest home skid to their arch-rivals in 33 years. Berkman’s dinger ended an 0-for-13 streak at the plate, coming in his first at-bat after his scheduled day off on Thursday. Manager Tony LaRussa pointed out the importance of getting his players somce time off as the weather heats up in June and July. “All money in the bank if you can give them a little extra time,” LaRussa commented. St. Louis is 11-13 in day games this year.
Cardinals starting pitcher Kyle Lohse is a brilliant 7-2 with a 2.13 ERA in 11 starts this season and enters on a three-game winning streak. He has not allowed more than two runs in each of his last five starts. The right-hander has registered a 2-2 mark and 2.61 ERA in five home starts, as opposing hitters have managed to hit just .194 against him. Lohse has made five daytime appearances thus far, tallying a dominating 3-1 record and 1.16 ERA, while not allowing a single home run in 31 innings. In 10 career starts versus the Cubs, he enters with a 1-4 record and 6.52 ERA, including a 9-7 loss in his last start against them on August 15, 2010 at Busch Stadium. The 32-year-old surrendered seven runs in just three innings in that particular effort.
Bettors will likely back the Cubs due to their 14-3 record on Saturdays, while the Cardinals are 4-11 during the same day of the week.