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Game Preview: Cards at Cubs (9/24/14)

The Bucs have been keeping pace with Cardinals, just 1.5 games back after clinching a playoff berth on Tuesday. The last four games of the season are crucial in deciding the NL Central.

The Pitching Matchup: After giving up 6 runs on his September 5th start, and getting ejected in the 3rd inning in his September 10 start, John Lackey (3-2, 4.50 ERA) took a 9-day rest and threw a gem in his last start, join 7 2/3 innings and giving up only 1 run on 6 hits to earn his third win since coming over from Boston in August.

Jake Arrieta (9-5, 2.65 ERA) threw a complete game one-hit shutout in his last start, fanning a career high 13 and taking a no-hitter into the 7th inning for the third time this season. He has given up 2 runs or less in 8 of his last 10 starts, and he has given up 3 hits or less in 7 starts this season.

John Lackey
John Lackey

The Skinny: Before his last start, Lackey had a 6.02 ERA since joining the Cardinals on August 3, but then after his September 19 gem, it seemed that all he needed was a good rest to get back into form. Despite Arrieta having thrown quite a number of gems this season, he implodes on some days, giving up 6 and 8 earned runs in 2 of his last 8 outings.