Chicago Cubs: With Anthony Rizzo activated, team welcomes in Cardinals

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Heading into the Series: St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 9-7, 2nd in National League Central

Record (Last 10): 6-4

ERA: 3.30 (4th in NL)

OBP: .321 (6th in NL)

Team HR: 24 (T-1st in NL)

Team Leader – WAR: Tommy Pham0.8 (Fangraphs)

Cardinals riding a wave entering this series

After a lackluster start, St. Louis comes into Wrigley winners of four straight contests. Their pitching staff ranks in the top third of all NL staffs in terms of ERA and the offense leads the league with 24 home runs.

Tommy Pham and Greg Garcia are both swinging a hot bat – each carrying an OPS north of .900 halfway through April. Yadier Molina is tearing the cover off the ball with five dingers in just 59 at-bats, while newcomer Marcell Ozuna has driven in 10 runs of his own to help lead the offense.

The status of first baseman Jose Martinez remains unclear. He is battling a wrist injury and losing him would surely be a blow to the Cardinals offense. He is tied for the league lead with 15 runs batted in and is batting .346 so far this season.

Former Cub Dexter Fowler, meanwhile, is struggling badly. Batting just .183, the outfielder is yet to find his stroke at the plate. Getting him going could take this St. Louis lineup from deep to downright scary.

Let’s just hope that waits till Thursday, when the Cardinals leave town.