CUBS (31-25) AT CARDINALS (29-28)
2:15 p.m. ET; FS-M, MLBN, WGN, MLB.TV
The St. Louis Cardinals will go for a three-game sweep against the visiting Chicago Cubs on Sunday afternoon.
If both teams seem sluggish, there is a good reason. A prime-time matchup Saturday, which included a marathon rain delay of 3 hours and 37 minutes, meant that the final out did not take place until nearly 1 a.m. local time.
Approximately 12 hours later, the division rivals will square off again in the series finale. A sweep for St. Louis would even the season series at three wins apiece after the Cubs swept the Cardinals at Wrigley Field from May 3-5.
Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright (4-5, 4.94 ERA) is scheduled to make his 12th start. He is coming off a loss against the Philadelphia Phillies in which he allowed four runs in six innings and notched a season-high 10 strikeouts.
In 46 games (37 starts) against the Cubs, Wainwright is 15-11 with a 4.16 ERA. He has 206 strikeouts in 233 2/3 innings, which marks his highest such totals against any opponent. The only team he has more wins against is the Milwaukee Brewers (16).
At 37 years old, Wainwright is climbing the franchise record books for St. Louis. His 152 career victories rank fifth all time, and he can move into a tie for fourth place with Bill Sherdel (153) if he earns a win in the series finale. His 1,674 strikeouts rank second in franchise history behind only Hall of Famer Bob Gibson (3,117).
The Cubs will counter with another accomplished veteran in left-hander Cole Hamels (4-1, 4.02), who is in his first full season with the team after spending most of the previous 13 years with the Phillies and Texas Rangers.
Hamels is looking to bounce back after giving up six runs on seven hits in four innings his last time out against the Houston Astros.
In 14 career starts against the Cardinals, Hamels is 4-5 with a 2.67 ERA. He has 95 strikeouts in 91 innings.
Cubs infielder Javier Baez took himself out of the starting lineup Saturday because of a nagging heel injury, and his status is uncertain for the series finale. He is hitting .303 with 13 homers and 34 RBIs in 54 games.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he knew Baez’s injury was painful because the player rarely complains.
“If he’s going to say something, it’s bothering him decently right now,” Maddon told reporters.
One of the Cardinals’ hottest hitters is veteran catcher Matt Wieters, who delivered the go-ahead hit in Saturday’s victory. Wieters is expected to earn the bulk of the time behind the plate with Yadier Molina on the injured list.
“It actually helps me simplify the game a little bit when I’m not playing as much as I’m used to,” Wieters recently said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“It goes back to the old ‘see the ball, hit the ball.’ It’s see it, hit it and try to get a good pitch. When you get a lot of at-bats, you can try to tweak too many things as opposed to not having as many at-bats. It simplifies it all,” Wieters said.
–Field Level Media