Indianapolis Star
Major League Baseball
Preview
St. Louis at Chi. Cubs
When: 2:20 PM ET, Friday, July 20, 2018
Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois

The Chicago Cubs picked up right where they left off before the All-Star break, and they’ll try to keep the hot streak going Friday when they host the St. Louis Cardinals for the second of a five-game series. The Cubs used a five-run fifth inning to rally for their major league-leading 31st comeback victory Thursday while posting their fourth consecutive victory.



The Cubs have won 13 of their last 16 games to build a three-game lead over Milwaukee in the National League Central. The Cardinals have lost four of their last five to fall 8 1/2 games behind Chicago. The Cubs were able to hang on in the opener despite a weakened bullpen, as closer Brandon Morrow was placed on the disabled list prior to the game with right biceps inflammation. Chicago bolstered the pen by acquiring right-hander Jesse Chavez from Texas on Thursday in exchange for minor-league left-hander Tyler Thomas.

TV: 2:20 p.m. ET, MLB Network, FS Midwest (St. Louis), NBCS Chicago



PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Jack Flaherty (3-4, 3.24 ERA) vs. Cubs LH Jon Lester (12-2, 2.58)

Flaherty is winless in his last six starts despite a solid 3.68 ERA over that stretch. The 22-year-old allowed two hits over five scoreless innings in his last start, and he likely would have gone deeper if not for a rain delay. Flaherty faced the Cubs on June 17 and struck out seven while allowing two hits over five scoreless frames.

Lester hasn’t lost since May 23, going 8-0 with a 2.80 ERA in nine starts over that stretch. The 34-year-old wasn’t quite as dominant in his last three starts before the All-Star break, allowing 11 runs (nine earned) in 16 2/3 innings. Lester is 7-4 with a 2.26 ERA in 17 starts against the Cardinals, including two wins this season.



WALK-OFFS

1. Cubs RF Jason Heyward recorded his eighth three-hit game of the season Thursday after collecting three or more hits only four times last season.

2. Cardinals C Yadier Molina, who was 4-for-5 Thursday, is 13-for-38 with a homer versus Lester.

3. Chicago 1B Anthony Rizzo is 8-for-16 with five doubles in his past four games.



PREDICTION: Cubs 4, Cardinals 2


Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
St. Louis 48-47 L1 24-24 24-23 7-12 26-19 8-9 7-7
Chi. Cubs 56-38 W4 29-15 27-23 13-6 22-19 13-9 8-4
Last Meeting
St. Louis Chi. Cubs
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
7/19/18 STL 6 CHC 9 .366 2 .956 .361 1 .912
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
St. Louis T. Pham .333 8 1.157
Chi. Cubs J. Baez .379 11 1.231
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
St. Louis T. Pham 3 8 5
Chi. Cubs J. Baez 3 8 5
Pitching ERA Avg K
St. Louis 4.76 .253 65
Chi. Cubs 3.76 .275 78
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
St. Louis J. Martinez .299 95 .843
Chi. Cubs A. Almora Jr. .318 88 .793
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
St. Louis M. Carpenter 20 58 44
Chi. Cubs J. Baez 19 61 72
Pitching ERA Avg K
St. Louis 3.89 .246 780
Chi. Cubs 3.57 .266 785