Carlos Martinez is looking to earn his third straight victory as the Cardinals face the Cubs Saturday.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
ST. LOUIS — Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon usually makes out his day’s lineup on the morning of a game.
If he waits a little longer to do it for Saturday’s late-afternoon meeting with the St. Louis Cardinals in Busch Stadium, there’s a good reason. He might need the time to figure out who he can play.
Already playing without right fielder Jason Heyward (finger), who’s on the 10-day disabled list, the Cubs went into Friday night’s 3-2 win with shortstop Addison Russell (right shoulder) out of the lineup for a second straight game.
Just before turning in his lineup to plate umpire Jordan Baker, Maddon had to make a last-second change. Right fielder Kris Bryant was scratched with stomach flu, and Maddon said after Friday night’s game that Bryant probably won’t play Saturday.
“I knew something was not right,” Maddon said. “I was joking with him in the dugout and he wasn’t joking back. I scratched through his name on the card and explained it to the umpires and the (Cardinals) what was going on. I wrote (Jon) Jay’s name in.”
Before the second inning was finished, Maddon was scratching Jay as well. Laid low by back spasms, Jay’s start in the ballpark where he played the first five years of his career was cut short. Ben Zobrist moved from second base to right field and Tommy La Stella moved into the second spot in the lineup.
But despite being down three starters, Chicago (18-17) won anyway. Willson Contreras homered twice, La Stella added a solo shot of his own and Triple-A call-up Eddie Butler fired six shutout innings in his first big league outing of the year for the victory.
Butler became the fourth starter to work scoreless ball against St. Louis this year — all at Busch. Before Friday night, he had pitched just 1 1/3 innings in his career against the Cardinals, allowing six hits and two runs.
“You’re just going to have those games,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “It seems like we have them often against young pitchers we haven’t seen that much.”
The Cardinals’ mound opponent Saturday is someone they has seen often the last couple of years, although they haven’t always done much with him. Jon Lester (1-1, 3.27) is coming off season-high totals of seven innings and nine strikeouts Sunday night at home against the New York Yankees, although he settled for a no-decision in the Cubs’ 5-4, 18-inning loss.
Lester has been excellent in his career against the Cardinals, going 3-3 with a 1.96 ERA in 10 starts. He last saw them on Opening Night, yielding one run in five-plus innings of a no-decision outing.
He’ll match up with Carlos Martinez, just as he did April 2. Martinez (2-3, 3.86 ERA) was brilliant in that game, firing 7 1/3 scoreless innings and striking out 10 in St. Louis’ 4-3 win, although he didn’t pick up the win as Contreras belted a game-tying three-run homer in the ninth off Seung Hwan Oh.
Martinez won 9-4 Monday night in Miami, his second straight victory, as he pitched six innings with seven strikeouts while knocking in a career-high four runs. He’s 3-3 with a 4.45 ERA in 10 career starts against Chicago.