Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals Preview
Game time: 2 : 20 pm EDT
TV: CS N, FS MW
Radio: WGN 720, WRTO1200, KMOX 1120
The Cubs (58-92) sent the Cincinnati Reds into the postseason by losing on Thursday. They may give a kick to the St. Louis Cardinals (80-70) to win a wild-card spot as well as they will meet on Friday afternoon to begin a three-game set.
The Cubs are 6-8 in season matchups against the Cardinals but have been outscored by 30 runs (46-76). Despite that, they took two of three games last time the two teams met on July 27-29, including the rubber game in which Anthony Rizzo’s walk-off game-winning two-run home run in the 10th inning.
Starting for the Cubs, Chris Volstad (3-10, 6.26) failed to win in two successive starts while surrendering six runs on 10 hits through 4 2/3 innings to the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates last Sunday. The Cubs scored four runs in the fifth inning and five runs including Rizzo’s grand slam in the sixth to get Volstad off the hook in the Cubs’ 13-9 win.
The right-hander is 1-1 this month with a 7.36 ERA in three September starts.
He was tagged with the first season loss against the Cardinals when four runs (three earned) on six hits over six frames were charged to him on April 9.
Volstad is 2-3 with a 5.15 ERA in six career stings facing the Cardinals, five of them with the then-Florida Marlins.
The return of ace Chris Carpenter (0-0, 0.00) is a big plus to push the Cardinals into the postseason.
Making his debut Friday, the veteran encountered the issue of nerve compression on his pitching right shoulder a week before this season’s Opening Day and had what-supposed-to-be a season-ending surgery performed on it. But Carpenter made a dramatic and speedy recovery, just in time to get warmed up for the playoffs.
Carpenter is 11-6 with a 3.05 ERA in 25 career starts, including a shutout, facing Chicago.
The ace met the oppositions three times in 2011 but only picked up a win on May 10 at Busch Stadium where he allowed four runs on excessive 13 hits in seven innings. The Cardinals won one and lost another in his two other outings.
The Cubs lost four straight and were swept by the contending Reds. They have to win five in the remaining 13 games to avoid a 100-loss season.
Starter Jason Berken gave the Cubs a chance to reduce their magic number on Thursday matinee while handing the Reds scoreless through six frames. Manny Corpas, however, fed the oppositions with six hits in the relieved seventh which resulted in five runs. The Cubs failed to complete the rally in the ninth when they were down by two runs. Alfonso Soriano and Starlin Castro being at bats as tying run, were denied by Alfredo Simon to end the game.
On the other hand, St. Louis swept the last-place Houston Astros at home to wrap up a short three-game homestand and has won the last four games.
Carlos Beltran pinch-hit a game-winning double scoring Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma in the sixth frame on Thursday afternoon when the game was deadlocked at 3-3. Allen Craig put his club on the board with a three-run homer in the bottom first. Jason Motte closed the game with a league-leading 38th save of the season.
- Soriano ranks second with the most RBIs in the National League. Chase Headley of the San Diego Padres and Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers share the lead with 105 RBIs.
- For the first time in the Cardinals’ franchise history, five players have at least 20 homers in a season including Carlos Beltran (29), Matt Holliday (27), Allen Craig (22), David Freese (20), and Yadier Molina (20).
Patrick Au Yeung