Already having eliminated the rival St. Louis Cardinals from contention for the National League Central title, the Chicago Cubs can do further harm to the Cardinals’ wild-card hopes when the teams continue their four-game series Tuesday in St. Louis. The Cubs need one win or one Milwaukee loss to clinch their second straight NL Central crown.
Chicago knocked St. Louis out of the division race with a 10-2 win in Monday’s opener, and the Cardinals are fading in the wild-card race, trailing Colorado by 2 1/2 games for the final playoff spot. The Cubs have won six straight against the Cardinals and lead the season series 12-4. Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta aims to continue his strong record against St. Louis – he is 8-3 with a 2.06 ERA in 16 meetings. Chicago has won 11 of its last 13 overall.
TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN, CSN Chicago, FSN Midwest (St. Louis)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs RH Jake Arrieta (14-9, 3.43 ERA) vs. Cardinals RH Carlos Martinez (12-11, 3.63)
Arrieta was solid in his first start back after missing more than two weeks with a strained hamstring. The 31-year-old was limited to 71 pitches but made the most of them, holding Milwaukee to one run over five innings in a no-decision. Arrieta is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in three starts against the Cardinals this season.
Martinez was roughed up by the Cubs on Sept. 15 in Chicago, allowing seven runs in 5 1/3 innings and taking the loss. The 26-year-old Dominican bounced back to win his last start but did not have his best stuff and gave up four runs over 6 1/3 innings at Cincinnati. Martinez is 4-4 with a 4.55 ERA in 23 games (13 starts) against the Cubs.
1. Cardinals 1B Matt Carpenter is 1-for-32 with 10 strikeouts against Arrieta, his former college teammate at TCU, but the one hit was a home run.
2. Cubs OF Jon Jay is 11-for-25 during a six-game hitting streak.
3. St. Louis C Yadier Molina left Monday’s game and underwent concussion testing after taking two foul balls off his mask.
PREDICTION: Cubs 3, Cardinals 2