Series Preview 8/11-14: Cardinals @ Cubs

series preview cubs.jpg

Photos are credited to Getty Images.

The Cardinals are at Wrigley Field in Chicago to play a four-game series with the National League Central-leading Cubs, who own a twelve-game lead over the Cardinals in the division entering the opening game of the teams’ series on Thursday evening.

Prior to the first game of the series, the Cardinals placed first baseman Matt Adams on the 15-day disabled list with left shoulder inflammation. To replace him on the 25-man roster, the Cardinals recalled outfielder Randal Grichuk from Triple-A Memphis.

Starting the series opener for the Cubs will be left-hander Jon Lester. Lester has logged thirteen innings over his previous two starts, in which he has surrendered a total of two earned runs and whiffed fifteen batters. His counterpart will be Carlos Martinez. Martinez has allowed ten earned runs over his last twelve innings for St. Louis and has issued ten walks in his most recent three starts.

The second game of the four-game set will be held on Friday afternoon and feature Jake Arrieta for the North Siders. Arrieta has combined to give up two earned runs on five hits and four walks in his latest pair of starts. Adam Wainwright will hurl for the Cardinals. Wainwright has an earned run average of 2.89 over his last seven starts, although he has twelve runs over his most recent three.

Kyle Hendricks will take the mound for the Cubs in the third game of the series. Hendricks — despite sharing a rotation with some of baseball’s best pitchers in the form of Lester and Arrieta — leads the Cubs’ starting rotation in several statistical categories, including ERA (2.17), WHIP (1.02), and has surrendered the fewest walks (35) of all five of Chicago’s starting pitchers. The Cardinals will counter with one of their top prospects, 22-year-old right-hander Luke Weaver, who appeared in his first Triple-A game on Monday, August 8. In twelve starts prior to advancing to the Triple-A level, Weaver posted a 1.40 ERA in 77 innings and recorded 88 punchouts. The Cardinals will announce corresponding transactions for Weaver’s promotion as Saturday nears.

The finale of the four-game series will be played on Sunday night and started by John Lackey, who has cumulated fifteen innings over his last couple of outings. In those two starts, Lackey has allowed four earned runs and struck out fourteen. For the Cardinals, it will be Mike Leake toeing the rubber. Leake has been heckled for sixteen earned runs in as many frames over his last three starts.

Who’s hot?

Cardinals: Yadier Molina, catcher. Molina extended his on-base streak to 23 games in the teams’ series finale with the Reds on Wednesday. Molina is slashing .330/.388/.509 over previous 30 games.

Cubs: Dexter Fowler, center fielder. Fowler has tallied ten hits in 34 at-bats over his last eight games, during which he has plated five runs.

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