Before you read the matchup, check out this great article by our own Steve Hirsch. It’s pertinent. Without further ado, the matchup:
St. Louis Cardinals: Adam Wainwright (8-10; 4.31 ERA)
Twas a salty start against the Dodgers in his last go-around, and the Cards will need more of the same if they want to take the rubber match in an always fun Cards-Cubs series. Unfortunately, there is this statistic: the Cubs roster that is taking the field tomorrow has hit .310 off of Wainwright over their careers. Further, he’s faced the Cubbies twice this year, and has gone just 9 total innings while allowing a stunningly poor 9 ER. All signs would point to this not being the most quality of starts for Waino, but if he can keep up his recent trend, maybe he can turn things around.
Chicago Cubs: Paul Maholm (9-6; 3.88 ERA)
Check this out for size: in Maholm‘s last six appearances (5 starts) the Cubs are 6-0, Maholm has gone 38.1 innings, and has allowed just 4 ER. Just to make sure that you understand that, I’ll repeat and condense to just starts: 5 starts, 5 wins, 37.1 innings, and just FOUR EARNED RUNS. On top of that, he’s only walked 4 guys in those 38.1 innings, and has struck out roughly 5 times that many — a terrific ratio. In short, Paul Maholm has been spectacular (possibly the best pitcher in the game) since June 29th. The Cardinals bats will need to step up in a big way if they want to take the series.
THE SKINNY: I think Maholm’s stat line says it all. Wainwright is completely overmatched here, and the only way the Cards can win is if the bats can solve a pitcher many other people have had immense trouble with.