The Chicago Cubs are doing their best to knock the St. Louis Cardinals out of the three-team National League Central race. The Cubs look to complete a three-game sweep of the visiting Cardinals on Sunday, and doing so would leave St. Louis six games behind Chicago with 14 games remaining.
The Cubs (82-66) have won five straight – their fourth winning streak of five or more games since the All-Star break – to move a season-best 16 games above .500, and they’re four games ahead of second-place Milwaukee in the division. Chicago has dominated the Cardinals this season, winning 10 of 14 meetings to clinch its first win in the season series since 2008. The Cubs look to left-hander Jose Quintana in the finale, as he aims to improve upon his 6-3 record and 3.88 ERA in 11 starts since being acquired from the Chicago White Sox. St. Louis counters with right-hander Lance Lynn, who is winless in seven starts against the Cubs since last beating them in 2013.
TV: 2:20 p.m. ET, TBS, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), CSN Chicago
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Lance Lynn (11-7, 3.01 ERA) vs. Cubs LH Jose Quintana (10-11, 4.25)
Lynn earned his first win since Aug. 5 when he beat Cincinnati on Tuesday, allowing four runs (three earned) over five innings. Ironically, the win came in an outing in which the 30-year-old failed to record a quality start for only the second time in his last 13 outings. Lynn is 6-6 with a 4.07 ERA in 17 games (16 starts) against the Cubs.
Quintana has posted three straight quality starts – all in Cubs’ victories – and earned the win in two of them. The 28-year-old has won four of his last five decisions and allowed two or fewer runs in four of his last six starts, including a win Tuesday against the New York Mets in which he gave up two runs over seven innings. Quintana faced the Cardinals in his second start for the Cubs on July 23, limiting St. Louis to three runs over six innings and striking out seven in a win.
1. Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo, who has reached base in 12 of his last 19 plate appearances, is 11-for-32 with four doubles, two homers and eight RBIs against Lynn.
2. The Cardinals are 28-34 against divisional opponents in 2017.
3. Chicago RH Wade Davis improved to 30-for-30 in save chances this season, extending his franchise record, and has converted 36 consecutive saves dating back to last season.
PREDICTION: Cubs 5, Cardinals 3