The Chicago Cubs are off Thursday and visit the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday for the first of three games against their National League Central rivals.
The Cubs have lost two straight after falling to the Milwaukee Brewers 1-0 on Wednesday. The season long problem of leaving runners on base is catching up with the Cubs as they were shutout in back to back games by the Brewers.
St. Louis has also lost two straight after losing to the San Diego Padres on Wednesday 4-2. The Cardinals are also off on Thursday. Luke Weaver took the loss falling to 3-6 after allowing nine hits and four runs. Weaver has won just one game over his past 11 starts. Jose Martinez will not play for the Cardinals this weekend as he is on paternity leave.
Albert Almora Jr. has a team high .314 batting average for the Cubs. Javier Baez leads the team in home runs with 14 and RBIs with 46. Chicago has a team batting average of .258 while opposing hitters are averaging .215 at the plate against Cubs pitching. On Friday, the Cubs will send Jon Lester to the mound. The southpaw this season is 7-2 with an ERA of 2.22, 66 Ks and 27 BBs.
With Jose Martinez out on paternity leave, Marcell Ozuna has the Cardinals leading batting average at .286. Tommy Pham has the home run lead at nine (Martinez 10) and the RBI leads in Martinez’s absence is Ozuna with 37 (Martinez 45). St. Louis has a team batting average of .243 while opposing hitters are averaging .239 at the plate against Cardinals pitching. On Friday, the Cardinals will send Michael Wacha to the mound. The right-hander this season is 8-1 with an ERA of 2.47, 67 Ks and 30 BBs.