After snapping a four-game losing streak in explosive fashion yesterday, the Cards hope to earn a split in this four-game series with the upstart Cubs after losing the first two in blowouts. Last night, the Cards offense broke through with 13 runs, including nine in one inning, marking the team’s highest run total of the season. Now, the Cards offense will look to keep the good times going in today’s game at 1:15 CST at Busch Stadium.
The Pitching Matchup: John Lackey (13-8, 3.77 ERA) takes the mound looking to continue his exceptional pitching against NL Central opponents. In his last start, Lackey was stoud against the Pirates, going seven innings and giving up one run on seven hits. In his five starts with the Cards, Lackey has lasted at least six innings and allowed two runs or fewer in four of them. Lackey has not faced the Cubs this season, so he will get his first look at a Cubs lineup featuring many new, powerful hitters.
For the Cubs, Travis Wood (8-11, 4.72 ERA) comes in to today’s game after tossing six shutout innings against the Reds. But, Wood has not had much success against the Cards in three starts this season, as he has an ERA of 4.00 in averaging six innings per start. To make matters worse for the Cubs, Wood has a soaring 5.56 ERA on the road. Many Cards players have had great success against Wood, but look for Matt Holliday (11-for-34, 3 HR’s against Wood), who hit two homers yesterday, and Matt Carpenter (8-for-26, 2 HR’s) to have big games in particular.
The Skinny: If Lackey pitches as well as he has lately, then the Cards should have this one in the bag. While the offense won’t be able to match yesterday’s run total, a few runs should suffice as the Cards have the chance to move into a tie atop the NL Central with the Brewers with a win today.