Today the Cards travel to the friendly confines of Wrigley field to take on the
Triple A Iowa Chicago Cubs. Currently, the Cards are on a three game losing streak after dropping both games to the hapless Tampa Bay Rays, and they are in danger of dropping to third place in the NL Central. The Cubs however are always a good slumpbuster regardless of how many prospects Theo Epstein is hoarding down in Iowa.
Joe Kelly (2-1, 2.84 ERA) takes the mound this afternoon for the Redbirds after tossing a gem against the Dodgers last time out. Kelly went 7 innings only giving up one run with four strikeouts in just his second start back from the disabled list. Historically, Kelly has dominated the Cubs with a 2.61 ERA in 31 innings pitched with a paltry .209 average against. Nate Schierholtz is the only Cub to have any sort of success against Kelly, posting a .462 average with three doubles against him. The Cubs most potent bat, Anthony Rizzo, only has 1 hit in 16 career at-bats against Kelly, further giving the Cards starter the advantage in this matchup.
Pitching for the Cubs this afternoon is Travis Wood (7-9, 5.12 ERA) who has struggled with his command of late. In his last start, Wood walked four batters in 5 1/3 innings, while giving up 7 runs, 5 of which were earned. Wood is 0-3 in the month of July, posting a miserable 7.97 ERA in just 4 starts. So far this season, Wood has made two starts against the Cardinals, winning both games despite giving up 8 runs, 6 of which were earned. This Cards’ lineup has had their fair share of success against Wood, as both Matt Holliday and Allen Craig have hit a pair of homers off of him, and Jon Jay has 10 hits in 25 at-bats.
The Skinny: It seems that on paper the Cards have the clear advantage in this game with Wood’s recent struggles. However, the Cubs’ pitcher has beat the Cardinals twice this season despite giving up quite a few runs, so anything can happen. Hopefully, the Cards can strike early and end this losing streak before it runs them out of the NL Central race.