Preview: Cubs At Cardinals
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[May 14, 2014]
From an offensive explosion by the
Chicago Cubs to a game-ending hit-by-pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals,
the first half of the National League Central rivals' four-game series
has showcased the unlikely. Right-handers Jason Hammel and Michael Wacha
square off in the third act Wednesday at Busch Stadium. The season
series is tied at four games apiece and three of the games have been
decided by a run.
The Cardinals won the latest nail-biter when Justin Grimm hit
rookie Greg Garcia with a pitch to force home the winning run in the
12th inning of a 4-3 St. Louis victory Tuesday. That came a night
after the Cubs racked up season highs for runs (17) and hits (20) in
a series-opening rout. Hammel turned in a quality start in a
no-decision against the Cardinals earlier this month, but St. Louis'
middle infielders have hit him well - shortstop Jhonny Peralta is
8-for-17 with two homers and eight RBIs and second baseman Mark
Ellis is 5-for-7 with a pair of doubles against the 31-year-old.
TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, CSN Chicago, FSN Midwest (St. Louis)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs RH Jason Hammel (4-1, 2.45 ERA) vs. Cardinals
RH Michael Wacha (2-3, 2.85)
Hammel has recorded quality starts in all seven of his outings in
his first season with the Cubs, and has gone seven innings in five
of them. He is winless in his last two starts but pitched well
enough to win last time out, giving up two runs over seven innings
in a no-decision at Atlanta. Hammel is 1-1 with a 5.28 ERA in three
starts against St. Louis.
Wacha hasn't allowed more than three runs in any of his eight starts
in 2014, but is winless in his last five outings. The 22-year-old
has lost his last three decisions, including a defeat against the
Cubs on May 3, and received a no-decision after giving up three runs
over seven innings in a 6-4 loss at Pittsburgh on Friday. Wacha is
1-1 with a 3.44 ERA in four games (three starts) against Chicago.
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1. St. Louis LF Matt Holliday has reached base in all 14 home games
2. Cubs OF Junior Lake, who had six RBIs Monday but went 1-for-5
Tuesday, is 5-for-8 with a homer against Wacha.
3. Cardinals RF Allen Craig has hit safely in 12 of his last 15
games, going 18-for-61 over that span to raise his average from .170
PREDICTION: Cardinals 5, Cubs 3
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