Both photos are credited to Getty Images.
In their first series since they met in the postseason, the Cubs and Cardinals will square off at Busch Stadium in a three-game series that’s sure to bring excitement.
In the first of nineteen meetings between the two clubs this season, the Cardinals will give the ball to Mike Leake, who has not been overly sharp in his first couple of starts with St. Louis, though he showed improvement in his most recent one compared to his earlier one. In his latest outing, which came against the Brewers, Leake went six innings and allowed four runs on eight hits and a walk. He did record six strikeouts, five more than he did in his first start. Opposing Leake will be John Lackey, who provided the Cardinals will over 200 innings last season. In Lackey’s recent outing, when he faced the Reds, Lackey went just under seven innings and surrendered two runs on six hits and three walks. Serving as the Cubs’ third pitcher in their loop of starters, Lackey is third in strikeouts with eleven behind Chicago’s one-two punch of Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester.
The second game of the series will feature Jaime Garcia, who is fresh off of a dazzling one-hit shutout that he whirled on April 14 against the Brewers. In that outing, Garcia struck out thirteen batters and allowed a total of two base runners, one on a walk. The Cubs will counter with Jason Hammel, who has given up only one run on eight hits in twelve innings this season. The low run total looks even more significant when you factor in the seven walks he has allowed in his two assignments thus far.
The series finale will feature young right-hander Carlos Martinez. Martinez made the start on April 15 against the Reds, completing seven innings and recording six strikeouts. Martinez, who walked three batters in his first start of the year, allowed one walk in his outing against the Reds. Martinez was second on the team to Lance Lynn in walks a year ago with 63, so limiting the total of bases on balls is certainly important, especially for Martinez. Toeing the rubber with Martinez will be Kyle Hendricks, who is also the youngest in his rotation. Hendricks has made two starts in 2016. In the latest one against the Rockies, Hendricks allowed four earned runs through six innings. Hendricks struck out 167 batters in 180 innings last season; he has struck out ten in just under thirteen innings this year.
CHC: Dexter Fowler, center fielder. Fowler has a home run, a double, three walks, and five RBIs in his last five games.
STL: Matt Holliday, left fielder. Holliday has three extra-base hits in his previous eight at-bats, including a double and two home runs.
CHC: Jason Heyward, right fielder. Heyward has three hits in last 22 plate appearances with two walks and six strikeouts.
STL: Adam Wainwright, starting pitcher. Though he is not slated to start in the series, it’s worth noting that Wainwright has nine batters in just over sixteen innings of work this season.