Cards-Cubs Preview

BY foxsports • July 27, 2012

(AP) -- Lance Lynn has to be excited that his next start will come against the Chicago Cubs.

Lynn looks to continue his dominance of the Cubs and earn his NL best-tying 13th victory when the St. Louis Cardinals open a three-game series in Chicago on Friday.

Lynn (12-4, 3.10 ERA) has faced the Cubs three times this season, going 3-0 with a 0.93 ERA and striking out 17 in 19 1-3 innings, and the right-hander enters this matchup on a roll - helped by one of those starts against Chicago.

He improved to 2-0 with a 0.47 ERA in three starts this month after allowing four hits in six innings of a 7-0 win over the Cubs on Sunday.

"Before the All-Star break, I had those few starts that were pretty miserable, and it upset me," Lynn told the team's official website. "I'm pitching with a little chip on my shoulder, trying to get as many outs as I can before they come get me."

The Cardinals (53-46) outscored the Cubs 23-1 in sweeping last weekend's three-game homestand before losing 5-3 to Los Angeles on Monday. St. Louis bounced back to take the next three from the Dodgers, getting a season-high 18 hits in a 7-4 win Thursday.

"You guys get tired of hearing it, but I just think this is the team we are," manager Mike Matheny said. "I think they believe that, too. It would be nice to ride it for a few months."

The Cubs (40-57), last in the majors with 356 runs, rebounded from last weekend's sweep by taking two of three in Pittsburgh. Chicago now gets to face the Cardinals and Pirates at Wrigley Field, where it's won 10 of 12.

A return home may help the Cubs after they totaled 10 runs on their 2-4 trip. One bright spot for Chicago offensively has been the play of Anthony Rizzo, who hit his fifth homer in a 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

Since being called up June 26, Rizzo is batting .323 in 24 games as the Cubs have gone 15-9. He picked up one of Chicago's four hits off Lynn on Sunday.

Travis Wood (4-5, 4.33) will oppose Lynn again after allowing seven runs and nine hits over six innings last weekend. He went 2-0 with a 2.33 ERA in his first three career starts against St. Louis.

"I'm not sure what happened," said Wood, who has an 11.81 ERA in losing both of his starts since the break. "Their series, I guess. They put the ball in play, got the hits when they needed them, scored the runs."

Matt Holliday took the left-hander deep Sunday and is 4 for 12 in his career when facing Wood. Holliday homered again Thursday to continue his tear, going 2 for 4 to raise his average to .427 over his last 34 games.

The Cardinals have taken seven of 11 meetings this season but lost two of three in their only trip to Wrigley from April 23-25.

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