MLB Preview: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs will play the final game of a four game series on Sunday afternoon. The Cubs won the first two games, including the first of a doubleheader on Saturday. St. Louis came back and smoked the Cubs on Saturday night to get a win. Chicago comes into the game with a 61-75, last place in the National League Central. The Cubs have won 5 of their last 10, and have been heating up a bit since calling up several rookies. St. Louis is 72-63; second place in the division. The Cardinals, despite losing four of their last five is just a game behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central. St. Louis has won 40 of 68 games at Busch Stadium.

The St. Louis Cardinals will turn to veteran John Lackey. The 35 year old is making his sixth start for the Cardinals. In his first five starts, the Cardinals have won four of them. Since coming over to St. Louis Lackey has thrown 32 innings, allowed 36 hits and 16 earned runs. Lackey is 13-8 on the season between Boston and St. Louis. The Cardinals are near the bottom of Major League Baseball with 511 runs. St. Louis is batting .253, led by Matt Adams, who is hovering around .300. Matt Holliday hit two homeruns Saturday night, but Johnny Peralta leads the team with 18 on the season. St. Louis welcomed their starting catcher Yadier Molina back on Friday night after missing 6 weeks.

The Chicago Cubs have called up Javier Baez and Jorge Soler in the last couple weeks, and played solid baseball. Soler homered twice in the Friday night win, and started Saturday night off with an RBI double. Chicago has moved up to .239 as a team, which still ranks 28th in all of baseball. Starlin Castro is the leading hitter for the Cardinals, with a .289 batting average. Anthony Rizzo, the leading homerun hitter for the Cubs has been out the last couple games with an injury. The starting pitcher for Chicago will be lefthander Travis Wood. After a rough stretch, Wood won his last start; over Cincinnati. In that game he threw 6 innings and allowed just 2 hits. Before that, Wood had not won in his last 9 starts. The former Reds starting pitcher is 27 years old and 34-46 in his career.

The Cardinals should win this game. They obviously need it more than the Cubs do. But, Chicago has sent these young guys out and have been very effective as of late. John Lackey has been pretty good, and we expect that to continue in this one.  Do not expect Lackey to be intimidated by the young hitters in the Cubs lineup. Wood was good in his last start, but look for the aggressive approach for St. Louis to win out. We are going to take the big favorite in this one and wager on the St. Louis Cardinals -168 over the Chicago Cubs, who are +158.

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