Pregame Notes: Chicago Cubs travel to St. Louis to battle the Cardinals


Cubs, Cards renew rivalry in St. Louis

The Chicago Cubs have scuffled offensively in the last four games, and will need to heat their bats up in St. Louis if they want to stay within striking distance of the first-place Cardinals. The loss of

Adam Wainwright

hasn’t slowed them a bit, as they have won six in a row–three-straight on walk-offs. The Cubs will turn to

Travis Wood

(2-1, 3.04) who is looking more like the 2013 All-Star with each start. The Cardinals will counter with

Carlos Martinez

(3-0, 1.73), who has at least six innings in all four of his starts.

The Cubs (13-10) have failed to make consistent contact in this rough stretch, and in turn slugger Jorge Soler will have the night off, even though he is 4-for-7 at Busch Stadium with two home runs. The Cubs were averaging 5.5 runs per game during the four-game winning streak. In the last four, just 1.5 per game.

It won’t be an easy task against a Cardinals (18-6) team that has won 11 of 13 at home, including a sweep of the division rival Pirates this weekend. All three victories were of the walk-off variety, including Kolten Wong‘s solo home run in the 14th inning to complete the three-game sweep.

This is a “must-have” series for the Cubs in this early season if they want to establish themselves as legitimate contenders in the NL Central. The Cards enter this game with a 4 1/2 game lead, and the Cubs in worst case scenario need nothing less than a split in these four games.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. CT, and will be carried on ESPN.

Here are the starting lineups for tonight’s matchup:

Next: Fear not, the Cubs offense will return