Major League Baseball
Preview
Chi. Cubs at St. Louis
When: 7:15 PM ET, Saturday, September 28, 2019
Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri

The St. Louis Cardinals are sabotaging their chances of winning the National League Central with three consecutive defeats. However, the Cardinals maintain a one-game lead over Milwaukee with two games to play and look to halt their slide on Saturday, when they host the Chicago Cubs for the middle contest of their three-game series.

St. Louis' magic number for clinching the division dropped to two on Friday as the Brewers lost to Colorado. The Cardinals roared through a 32-12 stretch before their current funk and have been touched for 17 runs in their last two defeats following a 19-inning setback against Arizona. The Cubs ended their nine-game losing streak - their longest since a 12-gamer in May 2012 - with Friday's 8-2 win as Robel Garcia's three-run homer highlighted a seven-run seventh inning. Ian Happ went 3-for-5 with a homer, two doubles and two RBIs in the opener and has gone 9-for-18 with three blasts, three doubles, eight RBIs and five runs during his six-game hitting streak.

TV: 7:15 p.m. ET, FOX

PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs LH Cole Hamels (7-7, 3.92 ERA) vs. Cardinals RH Adam Wainwright (14-9, 3.98)

Hamels missed his last turn with a sore shoulder and could be making his final start with Chicago as he is slated to become a free agent after the season. The 35-year-old, who has lost five of his last six decisions, has posted a 6.39 ERA since the All-Star break. Hamels is 1-1 and hasn't allowed an earned run over 15 frames in two starts against the Cardinals this season and is 5-6 with a 2.29 ERA in 16 career turns versus the club.

Wainwright, who has won five straight starts, was moved up to replace Miles Mikolas as the starter with the NL Central title still up for grabs. "We're in an opportunity - and it's really more about Adam and the way he's been pitching and the way he's pitched in games in these situations," Cardinals manager Mike Shildt told reporters. "It's not a slight against Miles in the least, but more of an opportunity for Adam." The 38-year-old is 1-2 with a 3.91 ERA in four starts against the Cubs this season and stands 16-12 with a 4.01 ERA in 49 career appearances (40 starts) against the team.

WALK-OFFS

1. Cubs RF Nicholas Castellanos (groin) was scratched from Friday's lineup and it hasn't been decided if he will play in either of the final two games.

2. St. Louis 2B Kolten Wong (hamstring) worked out Friday and could return over the weekend.

3. Chicago OF Albert Almora Jr. (knee) exited in the sixth inning of the series opener and could be done for the season.

PREDICTION: Cardinals 8, Cubs 4
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Chi. Cubs 83-77 W1 51-30 32-47 17-17 36-38 18-14 12-8
St. Louis 90-70 L3 49-30 41-40 18-15 45-29 18-15 9-11
Last Meeting
Chi. Cubs St. Louis
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
9/27/19 CHC 8 STL 2 .270 2 .954 .250 1 .718
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Chi. Cubs A. Rizzo .327 18 .986
St. Louis P. Goldschmidt .254 17 .734
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Chi. Cubs A. Rizzo 3 5 8
St. Louis P. DeJong 4 9 5
Pitching ERA Avg K
Chi. Cubs 3.41 .231 159
St. Louis 4.05 .242 145
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Chi. Cubs A. Rizzo .293 150 .924
St. Louis K. Wong .285 136 .784
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Chi. Cubs K. Schwarber 37 80 91
St. Louis P. Goldschmidt 33 95 95
Pitching ERA Avg K
Chi. Cubs 4.05 .252 1423
St. Louis 3.82 .245 1385