The St. Louis Cardinals are slumping, and the lowly Chicago Cubs
are contributing to their struggles.
The Cardinals try to bounce back from an anemic offensive
showing Saturday against Travis Wood.
St. Louis (69-52) lost Friday’s opener 7-0 after dropping two of
three at home to the Cubs last weekend.
“We’ve played some of our best baseball against them,” Chicago
manager Dale Sveum said. “Even in some of the ballgames we’ve lost,
we’ve played good ball and come up on the short end. We’ve played
these guys really well.”
The Cubs are 7-7 against the Cardinals but 12-28 against the
rest of the NL Central.
Chicago (53-68), however, isn’t the only team giving St. Louis
problems. The Cardinals have lost six of nine and own the NL’s
second-worst record since July 26 at 7-15.
Carlos Beltran doubled and accounted for St. Louis’ only two
hits Friday, as Jake Arrieta dominated in his second start for the
Highly touted prospect Kolten Wong made his major league debut
for the Cardinals, going 0 for 3 with a strikeout. Manager Mike
Matheny had the 22-year-old playing second base and moved regular
second baseman Matt Carpenter to third. Struggling David Freese was
relegated to the bench but is expected to be back in the lineup
against Wood (7-9, 3.00 ERA).
Yadier Molina also will likely return after a day off following
an 0-for-5 return from the disabled list. The NL MVP candidate is
batting .429 with nine RBIs against the Cubs this season and is 5
for 9 in 2013 matchups with Wood.
Beltran is also excelling in those matchups, batting .392 with
six doubles against Chicago and going 3 for 10 versus the
Wood yielded two runs and four hits in a season-high eight
innings against Cincinnati on Monday but was saddled with a 2-0
loss. It was his 20th quality start – tying him for second in the
majors – and the third time in four outings he allowed two runs or
Although Wood is enjoying a solid season, it hasn’t led to many
wins, with the Cubs losing 10 of his last 13 starts.
Friday’s victory snapped a four-game losing streak for Chicago
and seven-game skid at Wrigley Field. Nate Schierholtz drove in
three runs while Junior Lake and Anthony Rizzo each scored twice
for the Cubs, who had been shut out in two of their previous three
Rizzo is partly to blame for Chicago’s offensive woes, batting
.140 in his last 13 contests. He is 3 for 23 in his last six games
against St. Louis and 1 for 9 lifetime versus Joe Kelly (3-3,
Kelly was a little shaky against Chicago on Sunday, giving up
four runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings and not earning a decision
in an 8-4 victory. He walked two, and is averaging 4.1 walks per
nine innings over his last seven outings.
“I would like to go a little deeper, I can’t do that when I
start walking guys like that,” the right-hander told the Cardinals’
Kelly was 3-0 with a 0.78 ERA over his previous four starts.
That stretch began at Wrigley on July 12, when he allowed a run and
three hits over 5 1-3 innings of a 3-2 victory.
Wood is 1-1 with a 3.26 ERA in three starts against the
Cardinals this season.