Cubs-Cardinals Preview

When he was acquired in July, Edwin Jackson said he was happy to

try to help the St. Louis Cardinals return to the postseason.

After the Cardinals pulled off a stunning victory, the

right-hander gets his chance to make a big contribution Sunday

against the visiting Chicago Cubs.

Heading into Saturday, St. Louis (87-71) was three games behind

Atlanta in the NL wild card race with five games remaining for each

team. The Cardinals also trailed Chicago 1-0 heading into the ninth

inning, but a single and a trio of two-out walks brought home the

tying run.

Cubs closer Carlos Marmol followed with a wild pitch, which gave

St. Louis a 2-1 victory and allowed it to take advantage of the

Braves’ loss in Washington.

“I think people have written us off several times, and I think

probably before today they probably wrote us off again,” pitcher

Kyle Lohse said. “To show we can gut it out, come back with a big

win like that, is huge.”

Whether St. Louis can cut its deficit to one game might hinge on

Jackson’s performance in the series finale. The right-hander was

acquired from Toronto on July 27 after he was traded from the

Chicago White Sox earlier in the day.

“It’s not a bad situation for me, to get thrown into the fire on

a team that’s definitely chasing a playoff berth,” Jackson told the

Cardinals’ official website two days after the deal. “It’s a chance

to go into the postseason, I’m happy to be thrown into the mix

here.”

Jackson (5-2, 3.73 ERA) has performed well in most of his 11

starts for St. Louis and has won his last three decisions. However,

he gave up five runs, nine hits and four walks in his last outing

during the Cardinals’ 11-6 win over the New York Mets on

Tuesday.

Jackson fared better July 29 in his Cardinals debut, allowing

one run over seven innings in a 9-2 victory in his only previous

start against the Cubs (70-88) at Busch Stadium. Although he lost

at Wrigley Field on Aug. 20, he’s 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA in three

starts against the Cubs this season for St. Louis and the White

Sox.

He’ll pitch opposite Randy Wells (7-5, 5.09), who has struggled

in his last two starts after a promising stretch.

The right-hander gave up five runs for the second straight game

Tuesday during a 5-1 loss to Milwaukee, his first defeat in 10

starts since July 28. Wells had won five consecutive decisions

before that outing and was 3-0 with a 1.26 ERA in four starts Aug.

24-Sept. 10.

“He just couldn’t control the damage,” manager Mike Quade told

the team’s website. “He’s been pitching well, and in some of his

starts he’s been able to do that.”

Wells is 2-2 with a 4.67 ERA in six career starts against the

Cardinals, with no record and a 5.68 ERA in two matchups this

season.

Lance Berkman, batting .405 during a 12-game hit streak, is 3

for 12 with five walks in his career against the right-hander but 0

for 4 this season.

Albert Pujols, 2 for 5 with a home run versus Wells in 2011, has

reached base in 40 consecutive contests. The Cardinals first

baseman has batted .371 with 10 homers during the longest such

streak in the majors this season.

St. Louis has managed just three runs in the first two games of

this series, but Matt Holliday’s bat might help. The outfielder

returned Saturday after a nine-game absence due to a finger injury,

and his single sparked the ninth-inning rally, which improved the

Cardinals to 15-7 in September.

After Sunday’s game, St. Louis finishes the regular season with

three at Houston.

“We have to win every single game,” utility man Skip Schumaker

said.