National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, August 10th
(All times Eastern)
Chicago Cubs (51-64) at St. Louis Cardinals (66-49), 7:15 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Chicago - Carlos Villanueva (2-8, 4.16)
St. Louis - Michael Wacha (1-0, 4.58)
(Sports Network) - Coming off their first shutout victory in St. Louis in 16
years, the Chicago Cubs eye a series victory on Saturday night in the middle
portion of a three-game set with the Cardinals.
Behind an excellent effort from starter Chris Rusin and four relievers, the
Cubs rolled to a 3-0 win at Busch Stadium on Friday night. Rusin scattered
seven hits and two walks while striking out five over six innings and the
bullpen held the Cards without a hit following a Jon Jay single in the sixth.
Kevin Gregg did yield a two-out walk before locking down his 24th save of the
year and securing Rusin's second win of the campaign.
"He's pitching really, really well," manager Dale Sveum said of Rusin. "The
thing with him is when he throws strikes. The ball can move so much, that he
gets some swings and misses on some balls that are quite a ways out of the
zone. He did a great job again."
Junior Lake singled in a run during the seventh inning and later scored on
Anthony Rizzo's two-run base hit as the Cubs won for the only the third time
in 12 games since a three-game sweep of San Francisco from July 26-28.
Chicago also picked up its first shutout in St. Louis since June 23, 1997, but
still trails the season series 6-5.
Jay had three hits for the Cardinals, who have dropped three in a row and 12
of their last 16 contests. They trail Pittsburgh by four games for first place
in the NL Central.
Jay has logged a hit in 10 of his past 12 games, batting .388 with five
doubles and seven RBI in that time.
Lance Lynn was denied his 14th win of the season as he was charged with three
runs on three hits and a season high-tying five walks. Lynn, who was removed
after 6 2/3 innings, fell to 8-2 at home this season.
"That was a tough one. I felt good, I was just missing," Lynn said. "It's one
of those things, they got me in some deep counts and they worked some walks
and they weren't chasing some stuff."
With an off day coming on Monday, the Cardinals are slated to recall 22-year-
old Michael Wacha to start tonight's game and give the rotation some extra
rest. Joe Kelly will start Sunday's contest versus the Cubs and Adam
Wainwright will be pushed back to Tuesday's big opener with the Pirates.
"We talk about this long stretch of games and how our starters just continue
to go out there on normal rest," manager Mike Matheny said on St. Louis'
website. "We have an off day coming. I think that's an opportunity to get
Michael in there and give our guys a little more rest."
The 19th overall pick of the 2012 draft, Wacha made three starts earlier this
year with the Cards from May 30-June 11 and went 1-0 with a 4.58 earned run
average. The bulk of that damage came in his last outing at home on June 4,
when he allowed six runs over 4 2/3 innings of a no-decision versus Arizona.
The right-hander, ranked the Cardinals' second-best prospect by MLB.com, is
5-3 with a 2.65 ERA in 15 starts with Triple-A Memphis this season and has
logged a 3.51 ERA with 39 strikeouts in six starts since his demotion.
Chicago's Carlos Villanueva tries to secure his first victory since June 29, a
relief appearance. He dropped his fourth straight decision on Sunday versus
the Los Angeles Dodgers, yielding a run on two hits and three walks over six
innings. However, the Cubs were blanked 1-0, denying Villanueva his first win
as a starter since April 18.
The right-hander was still able to take some positives out of the outing
despite falling to 2-8 with a 4.16 ERA in 30 games (14 starts) this season.
"I felt good," said Villanueva. "I've felt pretty good my last couple of
starts. I've been able to establish my fastball more."
Villanueva's current losing streak includes a setback at home versus the
Cardinals on July 12. It was another tough-luck outing as the 29-year-old
limited the club to a pair of runs over six innings.
In 28 career meetings with St. Louis, including nine starts, Villanueva is 5-4
with a 3.14 ERA.
08/10 10:45:15 ET