Sunday starters aim for rebound; Cubs try to sweep Cardinals (Jun 04, 2017)
CHICAGO -- Chicago's Kyle Hendricks and St. Louis' Michael Wacha are looking to bounce back from rough starts when their teams play the series finale Sunday night at Wrigley Field.
The defending World Series champion Cubs are aiming for a three-game sweep.
Hendricks (4-3, 3.75 ERA) allowed five runs in five innings against the San Diego Padres for the most runs he has given up since Aug. 14, 2015, ending a streak of 48 starts allowing no more than four runs, the longest streak in team history.
"I felt pretty good," Hendricks told MLB.com after the start. "There was just some bad contact that found some holes and one pitch (to Hunter Renfroe on the grand slam). I tried to run a fastball in there and it kind of straightened out on me. That's how it goes. We have to stick with what we're doing, keep it simple and focus on pitch to pitch."
Despite the rough outing, the right-hander is 3-2 with a 2.81 ERA in his last seven starts after he went 1-1 with a 6.19 ERA in his first three starts of the season.
Hendricks is 1-2 with a 3.56 ERA in seven career starts against St. Louis. In his last start against the Cardinals at Wrigley, he matched a career high with 12 strikeouts.
In Wacha's last start, he gave up four runs (three earned) in three innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The right-hander (2-3, 3.99) has pitched a combined seven innings in his last two starts after throwing six quality starts.
"Just extremely big pitch counts, long at-bats that drive the pitch count up. And then you know the walks, they add to that as well and just too many free baserunners," Wacha told MLB.com after his last start. "I don't think everyone's playing up to their capabilities. Just got to keep showing up to the field to play every day and go about your business the right way, and things will turn around."
Wacha is 4-4 with a 5.90 ERA in 12 career games, including 10 starts, against the Cubs. He limited Chicago to two runs in 6 2/3 innings in their last meeting.
The Cubs are planning to bat left fielder Kyle Schwarber ninth again Sunday. After Schwarber went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts in the seventh spot on Friday, manager Joe Maddon moved Schwarber to the bottom of the lineup. He responded with his first career grand slam and raised his average to .166.
"Put him in front of the top of the batting order, so he's in essence another leadoff hitter, and the other part is he gets one less at-bat, possibly, while he's working through this whole thing," Maddon said.
The Cubs have won two straight after dropping six in a row.
"The way that we've been playing, it's been tough lately," Schwarber said. "For us to play these two games and grind through it and be able to come out on top, it's great.
"It's all positive signs. We really like the way that our energy in the dugout is."