National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, June 17th
(All times eastern)
Chicago Cubs (28-39) at St. Louis Cardinals (44-25), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Chicago - Travis Wood (5-5, 2.65)
St. Louis - Shelby Miller (7-4, 2.21)
(Sports Network) - The Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals are set to renew
their longtime rivalry on Monday when they meet up for a National League
Central Division showdown at Busch Stadium.
St. Louis continues to own the best record in the majors and entered Monday's
series opener 19 games above .500 (44-25). However, the team is looking to get
back on track after dropping two of three to the lowly Miami Marlins over the
The Cardinals fell in Sunday's series finale, 7-2, for their first series loss
since April. The offense managed only three hits and one run over seven
innings against Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco.
With a 3-0 lead entering the bottom of the ninth inning against the Mets on
Sunday, Chicago looked to be on its way to a season-best fourth straight road
win. However, Carlos Marmol imploded by giving up four runs in the ninth, as
Kirk Nieuwenhuis ended it with a walk-off, three-run home run.
"When you blow a save, you lost the game. It's tough," Marmol said.
Despite the loss, the Cubs offense has started to come around of late. They
managed to score five runs or more in each of their previous three games.
Prior to that, the team had been held to two or fewer runs in five of six
"I think we're giving ourselves more opportunities to score runs," first
baseman Anthony Rizzo said. "We had a lot of guys on base (Saturday). If you
keep giving yourself opportunities, eventually you're going to come through."
Taking the hill for Chicago on Monday is hard-luck left-hander Travis Wood,
who has lost each of his last two starts despite allowing three runs in 13
innings. Wood received a total of only one run from his offense in those
starts. His .191 opponents' batting average on the season is the best mark in
"It's a broken record. Woody's just pitched another great game and has nothing
to show for it," manager Dale Sveum said after Wood held the Reds to two runs
in seven innings on Wednesday.
Wood faced the Cardinals on May 7 and allowed just one run on six hits in 6
2/3 innings. He also struck out eight.
The Cards will turn to rookie Shelby Miller, who is 7-4 with a 2.21 ERA. His
seven wins are tops among all rookies, while his ERA ranks fifth overall in
the NL. St. Louis has had 10 rookie pitchers make an appearance this season,
and yet the team's 3.23 ERA is the best in the majors.
"Everybody is up here for a reason, and everybody has talent," Miller said.
"I'm fortunate to be with a good ballclub, and we're winning games. I've had a
good season, but I try to stay humble about it and keep working hard to win
games for this team."
In Miller's last outing, he gave up four earned runs on five hits over six
innings of a 5-1 loss to the Mets on Wednesday. Miller added 10 strikeouts to
raise his season total to 91, tops among rookie hurlers.
These teams split a two-game series at Wrigley Field last month. The Cubs have
lost four in a row in St. Louis. They were outscored, 23-1, in their last
visit from July 20-22 of last season.
06/17 10:32:09 ET