Game Twenty-Eight – Cubs (10-17) vs. Cardinals (15-15)
- Game Time – 12:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet, Fox Sports 1 – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 183, 844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jake Arrieta (0-0, -.–/-.–/-.–) vs. Michael Wacha (2-2, 2.48/1.13/2.57)
The Cubs have played better ball over the last week and will shoot to keep it going against Michael Wacha this afternoon. The Cubs did not win a series over the first month of the season and have two chances to post their first series victory since last September (Sept. 9-11). And the last time the Cubs won a series at Wrigley was last August when they took two of three against the Phillies (Aug. 30-Sept. 1).
The starting rotation will get a boost with the return of Jake Arrieta and his ability to record early outs will set the tone for his first start of the season. If Arrieta can throw strikes early, it could be a long afternoon for the Cardinals offense. If he struggles, the long afternoon will be pinned on the Cubs’ bullpen.
The offense will have the pleasure of facing one of the top young arms in the league. Michael Wacha has followed up his rookie season (4-1 in 14 games, nine starts, with a 2.78 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP) with a very good start to what should be his first full season in a Major League rotation.
Rick Renteria should load his lineup with as many lefties as possible this afternoon. And depending on which way the Cubs go with filling Ryan Sweeney’s roster spot, the only right handers that should be in the starting nine are Starlin Castro, Welington Castillo and Jake Arrieta. Right handers have hits .188/.291/213 against Wacha this season while lefties have managed a .265/.306/.361 slash line.
And for the first time this season, today all starts with Jake Arrieta …
Jake Arrieta reported to Spring Training with a sore right shoulder. The Cubs were very cautious with Arrieta despite his willingness to speed up the process and get on the mound. Arrieta did not throw a single pitch in the Cactus League before he went out on a rehab assignment just after the start of the season (April 5). Arrieta made five starts in the minors, four with Double-A Tennessee and one with the High-A Daytona Cubs. Arrieta limited the minor leaguers to nine runs, five earned, on 13 hits with 18 strikeouts and seven walks in 20 innings.
The Cubs acquired Jake Arrieta, along with Pedro Strop, from the Orioles last July. Arrieta spent time with Triple-A Iowa before finishing the year with the Cubs. In nine starts with the Cubs, Arrieta posted a 4-2 record with a 3.66 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP.
Jake Arrieta was 3-1 in six starts at Wrigley last season after the trade. Arrieta gave up 13 runs on 19 hits with three walks and 17 strikeouts in 34 2/3 innings (3.38 ERA, 1.04 WHIP).
This afternoon will be Arrieta’s second career start against St. Louis. Arrieta faced the Cardinals last August 16 and tossed seven innings of shutout ball. Arrieta issued two walks and struck out seven batters. Arrieta picked up his first victory in a Cubs’ uniform in a 7-0 victory at Wrigley Field.
Cardinals Career Numbers against Jake Arrieta
- Mark Ellis: 1-for-5 with three walks
- Jhonny Peralta: 3-for-6 with two double
- Peter Bourjos: 0-for-3 with two walks
- Matt Carpenter: 0-for-2 with one walk
- Allen Craig: 0-for-2
- Matt Holliday: 0-for-3
- Jon Jay: 0-for-3
- Daniel Descalso: 0-for-2
The Cubs get another shot at Michael Wacha this afternoon. Wacha beat the Cubs on April 13 after he allowed three runs on five hits with one walk and eight strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. Wacha has struggled since he faced the Cubs and is 0-2 in his last three games (Cardinals 0-3 in Wacha’s last three starts).
The Brewers beat the Cardinals in Wacha’s last outing on April 28 after the young right hander allowed three runs on eight hits with two walks and nine strikeouts.
Like Adam Wainwright, Wacha pounds the strike zone. In six games (36 1/3 innings), Wacha has issued 10 free passes while striking out 44 batters.
The Cubs will face Michael Wacha for the fourth time in his brief big league career. Wacha is 1-0 in three games, two starts, against the Cubs. Wacha has thrown just one scoreless in against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Cubs Career Numbers against Michael Wacha
- Welington Castillo: 2-for-5 with one home run and one walk
- Junior Lake: 2-for-5 with one walk
- Anthony Rizzo: 2-for-6 with one home run
- Nate Schierholtz: 0-for-6
- Starlin Castro: 1-for-5
- Emilio Bonifacio: 0-for-3
- Mike Olt: 1-for-2 with one double
- Darwin Barney: 0-for-2
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …