The Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals square off two more times and the Cardinals adjusted their rotation. Here’s a look at the updated pitching matchups for Saturday and Sunday.
There’s no doubt that this series is critical for the Chicago Cubs. The Cardinals made some tweaks to the rotation that create some excellent pitching match-ups for the rest of the series. Let’s take a look.
Saturday-Battle of the Aces
Saturday provides what is likely to be the best pitching match-up of the series. The Cubs send Jon Lester (1-1, 3.27 ERA) to the mound while the Cardinals counter with righty Carlos Martinez (2-3, 3.86 ERA). Both pitchers are the aces of their staffs, so this creates one incredible match-up for a mid-May series.
Lester is coming off his best outing of the year against the Yankees. Lester tossed seven innings, allowing just two runs and throwing 120 pitches. The extra day should hopefully keep Lester fresh as he looks to continue dominance after a slow start.
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Lester has had a lot of success against the Cardinals. He’s 3-3 with a sparkling 1.96 ERA in 10 career starts against the Cardinals. He’s also perfect at Busch Stadium (thanks to Wilson Contreras). In four career starts, Lester is 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA.
Lester’s only start against the Cardinals this year came on Opening Day. He allowed one run in five innings but left with the Cubs losing. Contreras’ game-tying home run in the ninth got Lester off the hook.
Martinez hasn’t had as much success against the Cubs. In 20 career games, he’s 2-2 with a 4.17 ERA. Those 20 games include 10 starts. He was very good against the Cubs in his only start against them this year. He tossed 7 1/3 shutout innings, striking out ten Cubs and left with the lead.
A lot of Martinez struggles against the Cubs came early in his career when he was still a reliever. As a start, he’s been a lot better and this looks poised to be a classic Cubs-Cardinals pitching match-up
Sunday-Battle of Former Aces
Sunday features another good pitching match-up. The Cubs send the struggling Jake Arrieta (4-2, 5.35 ERA) to the mound against Adam Wainwright (2-3, 6.37 ERA). This is a battle of struggling pitchers who are looking to turn their seasons around, each with a different story.
For Arrieta, he’s a 30-year old whose career took off in 2015, winning the Cy Young Award and throwing two no-hitters in less than a year. Wainwright, a three-time All-Star, is an aging veteran who is looking to rebound after having some injuries that derailed his career.
Arrieta has been absolutely filthy against the Cardinals in his career. In 14 career starts, Arrieta is 8-2 with an impressive 1.71 ERA. In 84 innings, he’s allowed just 63 hits and 2 home runs, while striking out 92. The majority of that success has come at Wrigley, as he’s made just five starts at Busch Stadium. He’s 2-1 with a 3.29 ERA in those five starts. In his only start against the Cardinals this season, Arrieta pitched six shutout innings.
Wainwright is not having a good season, but has always been tough against the Cubs. In 32 career starts, he’s 13-9 with a 4.24 ERA. He has the most experience against the Cubs than pretty much any starter in the game right now. Wainwright allowed two runs in five innings in his only start this year, but the Cubs knocked him around in 2016. They tagged him for 13 runs in 14 2/3 innings.
There’s no doubt that the Cubs probably have the pitching edge in both games on Saturday and Sunday. Martinez has been good against the Cubs, but the Cubs have been able to get to him too. It should be a fun weekend of baseball, where the Cubs hope to pick up some steam in the division.