The Cubs may have a problem at the back end of the bullpen as
Jose Veras on Friday blew his second save in as many chances by
hitting two batters, walking a pair, allowing a single and uncorking
a pitch that was ruled a passed ball but could have been recorded a
wild pitch. "A shaky outing," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said
afterward of Veras (12.27 ERA), "but he's still our guy." Carlos
Villanueva was saddled with the loss out of the bullpen in each of
Chicago's first two games of the season before winning his first
start of 2014 and will oppose Adam Wainright, who said he's close to
getting control of his cutter.
TV: 2:15 p.m. ET, CSN Chicago, FSN Midwest (St. Louis)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs RH Carlos Villanueva (1-2, 4.26 ERA) vs.
Cardinals RH Adam Wainwright (1-1, 1.29)
Villanueva worked out of the bullpen to start the season when the
schedule didn't call for a No. 5 starter, but rejoined the rotation
in fine fashion Sunday when he allowed one run in five innings of
Chicago's 8-3 victory over Philadelphia. The 30-year-old Dominican
Republic native has made 72 career starts — 44 in the last three
seasons. Villanueva is 5-4 with a 3.44 ERA in 31 appearances (10
starts) against St. Louis and has fared well against Yadier Molina
Wainwright has struggled with his command at times, walking six in
14 innings after issuing only 35 in 34 starts last season. The
32-year-old Brunswick, Ga., native allowed two runs in seven innings
in a 2-1 loss at Pittsburgh on Sunday after recording seven shutout
frames in a 1-0 victory at Cincinnati on March 31. Wainwright is 8-6
with a 4.24 ERA in 31 appearances (21 starts) against Chicago, with
Darwin Barney (8-for-26, home run, five RBIs) enjoying some success.
[to top of second column]
Cubs SS Starlin Castro has 566 hits since the start of 2011, most
among major league shortstops.
St. Louis' Matt Holliday (11) has the most home runs and Molina
the most RBIs (42) by any player against the Cubs since the start of
Cardinals SS Jhonny Peralta is off to a 2-for-31 start — both
PREDICTION: Cardinals 3, Cubs 2
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