Game Thirty-Nine – Cubs (13-25) vs. Cardinals (20-20)
- Game Time – 12:45pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 185, 844
- Location – Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Jason Hammel (4-1, 2.45/0.86/3.54) vs. Michael Wacha (2-3, 2.85/1.20/2.66)
Weather permitting … The Cubs and Cardinals will try to get in the last game of what is now a three-game series. Rain postponed Wednesday night’s game. It will be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader on Saturday, Aug. 30.
Even with Tuesday night’s long, strange game that ended with a walk-off hit batsman, the Cubs have played good ball against the Cardinals this season. A win this afternoon would give the Cubs the series and second series win of the season. The first came at the Cardinals expense earlier this month at Wrigley Field.
Two days after getting their hits, but not enough runs against Adam Wainwright, the Cubs offense will have their hands full with Michael Wacha. The Cubs beat Wacha 12 days ago at Wrigley Field and will have to make adjustments to his adjustments today.
Even with the unexpected off-day, John Baker should be behind the plate this afternoon. Baker appears to be Jason Hammel’s personal catcher. Lefties have hit slightly better (.244/.301/.323) than right handers (.232/.311/.299) against Wacha this year.
Rick Renteria should run out the same lineup this afternoon as the one that was announced for Wednesday night’s game: Emilio Bonifacio CF, Ryan Kalish RF, Anthony Rizzo 1B, Starlin Castro SS, Luis Valbuena 2B, Junior Lake LF, Mike Olt 3B, John Baker C, Jason Hammel P
The rain gave the Cubs’ pen a chance to rest up or Jason Hammel might have been left out to take one for the team if he struggled. Renteria used a majority of his bullpen on Tuesday night and several of the relievers he used tossed multiple innings (Carlos Villanueva, Neil Ramirez, James Russell, Brian Schlitter). With the break, Renteria should have a full pen to pick from this afternoon.
And today all starts with Jason Hammel …
Jason Hammel is coming off a no decision in Atlanta thanks the Cubs scoring a run in the ninth inning off of Craig Kimbrel last Friday night. Hammel threw the ball much better than in his previous start on Sunday Night Baseball against Cardinals. Sometimes extra rest is not a good thing for groundball pitchers. Hammel gave up two runs on seven hits to the Braves in seven innings with one walk and five strikeouts. Hammel worked his way in an out of trouble but was able to limit the Braves to just a couple of runs.
Jason Hammel has been very good on the road this year (2-1 in four starts with a 1.95 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP) and will face a Cardinals lineup that he really struggled with two starts ago.
Hammel took a no-decision on Sunday night at Wrigley when he faced the Cardinals and allowed three runs on seven hits with two walks and five strikeouts in six innings. Hammel is making his fourth career start versus the Redbirds today. Hammel is 1-1 with a 5.28 and a 1.63 WHIP in his career against the Cardinals, and 1-1 in two starts at Busch Stadium with a 5.79 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP (six runs on 13 hits with three walks and two strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings).
Cardinals Career Numbers against Jason Hammel
- Jhonny Peralta: 8-for-17 with one double, two home runs and two walks
- Matt Holliday: 3-for-8 with two doubles and two walks
- Mark Ellis: 5-for-7 with two doubles
- Yadier Molina: 1-for-6
- Allen Craig: 0-for-5
- Matt Adams: 2-for-3 with one double
- Matt Carpenter: 1-for-3
- Jon Jay: 1-for-3
Michael Wacha followed up his loss to the Cubs with a five-inning outing in Pittsburgh that he allowed three runs on seven hits with one walk and seven strikeouts. Wacha has not been as sharp since his seven inning start in Washington on April 18 and the Cardinals have lost each of his last five starts. Wacha is due for an excellent outing, maybe he can wait just one more start before turning his season around.
Michael Wacha is 2-0 in three starts at Busch Stadium this year with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP and he faces the Cubs for the third time this season tonight.
Wacha owns a 1-1 record in four career appearances, three starts, against the Cubs with a 3.44 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. This year, Wacha is 1-1 in two starts with a 3.65 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Michael Wacha
- Welington Castillo: 2-for-8 with one home run and one walk
- Junior Lake: 5-for-8 with one double, one home run and one walk
- Anthony Rizzo: 2-for-8 with one home run and one walk
- Nate Schierholtz: 0-for-9
- Emilio Bonifacio: 0-for-6
- Mike Olt: 1-for-4 with one double and one walk
- Luis Valbuena: 0-for-2 with one walk
- Darwin Barney: 0-for-2
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …