Game One Hundred Sixteen: Cubs (51-64) vs. Cardinals (66-49)
- Game Time – 6:15pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 89/844
- Location – Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Carlos Villanueva (2-8, 4.16/1.26) vs. Michael Wacha (1-0, 4.58/1.19)
The Cubs will shoot for two in a row over the Cardinals tonight behind Carlos Villanueva. Dale Sveum’s team posted a rare shut out on Friday night in St. Louis and it figures to take a similar performance from Villanueva to the one Chris Rusin turned in to beat St. Louis in back-to-back days. The Redbirds are really struggling and were looking at the three-game series with the Cubs as three easy wins and a way to chip into the Pirates lead in the division.
Adam Wainwright was scheduled to start tonight’s game but Wainwright was pushed to the opener against the Pirates on Tuesday to give him a little breather. There is talk that the Cardinals could go with a six-man rotation for a short-time to get their rotation back in order. The Cubs will have the tough task of facing rookie Michael Wacha for the first time tonight.
Nate Schierholtz is dealing with nagging injuries but is expected back in today’s lineup. With Dioner Navarro back with the team, Dale Sveum will have a full roster for the first time since Wednesday.
Tonight it all starts with Carlos Villanueva …
Updated 3:57pm CDT – Cubs selected the contract of OF Darnell McDonald from Triple-A Iowa, optioned catcher J.C. Boscan to Triple-A Iowa and transferred OF Thomas Neal to the 60-day DL on Saturday afternoon.
Carlos Villanueva is coming off one of his better starts of the season. After struggling with his command early in the outing, Villanueva settled down and limited the Dodgers to one run on two hits with three walks and five strikeouts in six innings. Villanueva took the loss because the Cubs were shutout for the second day in a row.
Carlos Villanueva appears to be pitching to stay in the rotation for the remainder of the season. Villanueva is 0-3 in four starts since the break with a 6.33 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP. Villanueva has to be looking over his shoulder with Jake Arrieta just a phone call away.
Carlos Villanueva is making his third start and fourth appearance of the season tonight against the Cardinals. Villanueva is 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. For his career, Villanueva is 5-4 in 28 games, nine starts, versus the Redbirds with a 3.14 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP.
Cardinals Career Numbers against Carlos Villanueva
- Matt Adams – 0-for-2 with a walk
- Carlos Beltran – 4-for-9 with a triple and a walk
- Matt Carpenter – 2-for-5 with two walks
- Allen Craig – 2-for-5 with a walk
- Daniel Descalso – 1-for-4
- David Freese – 1-for-6
- Matt Holliday – 4-for-13 with two home runs and two walks
- Jon Jay – 3-for-9 with a walk
- Pete Kozma – 2-for-5 with a walk
The Cubs will get their first look at another one of the excellent young arms in the Cardinals system. Michael Wacha is being called up today from Triple-A to make his fourth career big league start. Wacha faced the Mets back on June 11 and picked up his first win after allowing two runs on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts in six innings.
The Cardinals selected Michael Wacha in the first round of the 2012 draft. Wacha is 5-3 in 15 starts for the Memphis Redbirds this season with a 2.65 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP. In 85 Triple-A innings, Wacha has struck out 73 batters and walked 19 while surrendering just 65 hits.
No one on the Cubs’ roster has faced Michael Wacha in a big league ballgame.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …