Indianapolis Star
Major League Baseball
Preview
St. Louis at Chi. Cubs
When: 2:20 PM ET, Thursday, April 19, 2018
Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois

Runs can be tough to come by at Wrigley Field this time of year – as have opportunities to play baseball – and that’s bad news for a Chicago Cubs team that has struggled at the plate in the early going. After a third postponement in four days due to inclement weather, the Cubs face the tall task of getting their offense going against promising right-hander Luke Weaver when they wrap up an abbreviated two-game series against the visiting St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday afternoon.



The Cubs have recorded only one victory when scoring fewer than five runs and are averaging 1.75 in their eight losses compared to 8.7 in their seven wins. That includes a 5-3 defeat on Tuesday that pushed the Cardinals’ winning streak to five games and snapped their five-game skid at Wrigley. St. Louis is expected to add more pop to its lineup with the recall of power-hitting outfielder Tyler O’Neill. Javier Baez registered three of the Cubs’ six hits on Tuesday, and 10 of his 12 o the season have gone for extra bases while his 16 RBIs are twice as many as anyone else on the Cubs’ roster.

TV: 2:20 p.m. ET, MLB Network, FS Midwest (St. Louis), ABC 7 (Chicago)



PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Luke Weaver (2-0, 2.08 ERA) vs. Cubs LH Jon Lester (1-0, 4.40)

Weaver is showing why he was one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, as he has followed an outstanding spring with three strong starts to begin the regular season. The 24-year-old has allowed four runs over 17 1/3 innings and has struck out seven in each of his last two turns. Weaver is 0-1 with a 12.86 ERA in two career starts against the Cubs.

Lester is off to a bumpy start with one excellent outing sandwiched between two sub-par efforts. The 34-year-old allowed four runs and seven hits over five innings in a no-decision against Pittsburgh last time out, generating only 14 swinging strikes. Lester is 5-4 with a 2.30 ERA in 14 career starts against St. Louis.



WALK-OFFS

1. Cardinals CF Tommy Pham is 11-for-23 during his six-game hitting streak, but he’s 3-for-14 lifetime versus Lester.

2. The Cubs have been hit by a pitch in seven straight games – the club’s longest streak since at least 1908 – and lead the league with 17 hit batsmen this season.

3. St. Louis INF Matt Carpenter recorded two hits on Tuesday to snap a 1-for-14 skid, but he is 5-for-34 with 11 strikeouts against Lester in his career.



PREDICTION: Cardinals 4, Cubs 2


Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
St. Louis 10-7 W5 2-4 8-3 1-2 8-3 1-2 0-0
Chi. Cubs 7-8 L1 2-4 5-4 3-3 4-5 0-0 0-0
Last Meeting
St. Louis Chi. Cubs
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
4/17/18 STL 5 CHC 3 .206 1 .710 .188 1 .663
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
St. Louis M. Carpenter .500 2 1.350
Chi. Cubs J. Baez .750 3 2.500
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
St. Louis P. DeJong 1 1 1
Chi. Cubs J. Baez 1 1 2
Pitching ERA Avg K
St. Louis 2.00 .206 9
Chi. Cubs 5.00 .188 14
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
St. Louis J. Martinez .339 20 .988
Chi. Cubs K. Bryant .328 19 1.042
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
St. Louis P. DeJong 5 9 7
Chi. Cubs J. Baez 5 12 16
Pitching ERA Avg K
St. Louis 3.22 .244 154
Chi. Cubs 3.96 .235 133