If the St. Louis Cardinals are going to catch the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central race, they’ll probably have to do it by dominating the head-to-head matchup. The Cardinals will try for a second straight win over the Cubs – and their seventh consecutive road victory – when the rivals square off Tuesday in the middle contest of their three-game series.
St. Louis snapped a season-high five-game losing streak with a 3-2 win Monday, halting the Cubs’ streaks of three straight overall wins and five in a row against division rivals. It was a rare home defeat for the Cubs, who are 25-9 at Wrigley Field and still lead the second-place Cardinals by 11 1/2 games. The friendly confines also have been kind to Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright, who is 9-1 with a 3.33 ERA in his career at Wrigley Field going into Tuesday’s start. Right-hander Jason Hammel takes the mound for the Cubs looking for his third win against the Cardinals this season, as he allowed two runs over 13 1/3 innings in the first two meetings – both in St. Louis.
TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, MLB Network, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), ABC 7 (Chicago)
Cardinals – C B. Pena (15-Day DL, knee), RP J. Walden (15-Day DL, shoulder).
Cubs – CF D. Fowler (15-Day DL, hamstring), 2B T. La Stella (15-Day DL, hamstring), LF J. Soler (15-Day DL, hamstring).
WEATHER REPORT: Clear skies, temperatures in the 80’s, and a slight 5-10 mph breeze blowing out to right field will welcome the Cubs and Cardinals Tuesday night. It’ll be a perfect night for baseball at Wrigley Field. Get your Old Style ready, this should be a fun night.
HOT FAN BATTLE:
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Adam Wainwright (5-4, 4.78 ERA) vs. Cubs RH Jason Hammel (7-2, 2.26)
Wainwright struggled to start the season but has posted a 2.50 ERA over his last six starts. The 34-year-old put together his strongest outing of the year Wednesday against Houston, striking out six and allowing four hits over seven scoreless innings in a no-decision. Wainwright is 12-7 with a 3.97 ERA in 38 games (29 starts) versus the Cubs, and he allowed three runs over six innings in a no-decision against them on May 23 in St. Louis.
Hammel continued his outstanding first half with a strong outing at Washington on Wednesday, limiting the Nationals to one run and five hits over seven innings in a no-decision. The 33-year-old has been especially tough at home, going 3-0 with a 2.03 ERA in five starts at Wrigley Field. Hammel is 4-3 with a 4.60 ERA in nine starts against St. Louis.
* Cardinals are 6-0 in their last 6 road games.
* Cubs are 8-1 in Hammel’s last 9 starts vs. National League Central.
* Over is 4-0 in Wainwright’s last 4 road starts vs. a team with a winning record.
* Under is 13-3 in Cubs last 16 home games.
* Cardinals are 6-1 in Wainwright’s last 7 road starts vs. Cubs.
* Cardinals are 14-3 in their last 17 games with Carlson behind home plate.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Early wagering is seeing the public firmly on the side of the Cubs with 66 percent of the picks on the home side. This isn’t surprising with a very public team like Chicago getting a very reasonable price of -140. The total was late being released (as always with games played at Wrigley Field) and there was no Consensus data at the time of publication of this preview. View full consensus data here.