Despite a slew of injuries that have left the 25-man roster depleted, the Cardinals continue to roll with one of the best starts in franchise history as they roll into Wrigley Field to take on the Cubs.
If you count their one-game season opener in Miami as a "series," the Redbirds have won their first six series in a row to run up an 11-5 record.
The Cubs, on the other hand, are a rolling disaster. They've been pummeled by everyone they've played to tally a 4-12 mark on the season. And a couple of days ago they traded away one of the few veterans left on their roster in overhaul, Marlon Byrd, who was mired in a horrible slump that left him with a .070 batting average and two RBI.
In the series opener, the Cardinals send Jaime Garcia, (2-0, 3.06) against Chicago ace by default Matt Garza (1-1, 3.66.) Garcia is 2-1 with a 2.22 ERA in his career against the Cubs. But, while he continues to be dominant at Busch Stadium, Garcia is still a question mark on the road where he tends to get rattled. In two road starts this year he is 1-0 with a 4.22 ERA and 16 hits allowed in 10 2/3 innings pitched. Garza is 2-1 with a 5.32 ERA in his career against St. Louis. He's coming off a pounding in which he gave up six earned runs on seven hits and a walk in five innings against Miami.
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Struggling Redbirds starter Adam Wainwright (0-3, 9.88) will start the middle game of the series against former college footballer Jeff Samardzijia (2-1, 5.71). Wainwright's velocity is down and his mechanics appear to be screwed up after Tommy John surgery that kept him out for all of the 2011 season. He seemed like he was getting a bit of a grip on things in his last start against the Reds. But a sudden meltdown turned what was looking like a decent start sour. Samardizija was bombed for five runs on 10 hits over five innings in his previous start this season against the Cardinals. In his career against the Cardinals he's 3-2 with a 6.59 ERA.
Lance Lynn (3-0, 1.42) will start the finale against Chris Volstad (0-2, 6.19). Lynn beat the Cubs in his only previous start against them, allowing one run on four hits over 5 1/3 innings April 14. Volstad was Lynn's victim that day with four runs allowed on six hits over six innings.