John Lackey (13-10, 2.77 ERA) and the St. Louis Cardinals square off against Jon Lester (11-12, 3.34 ERA) and the Chicago Cubs in Game 1 of the Divisional Playoffs at Busch Stadium. The Cubs come into this series riding a nine-game winning streak. Action begins at 6:45 p.m. ET on Friday, Oct. 9 and can be seen on TBS.
Lackey pitched 4.0 innings in his most recent start, surrendering three runs and striking out four in a 6-0 defeat to the Braves. Matt Carpenter (.272, 101 Rs, 28 HRs, 84 RBIs, 4 SBs) went 1 for 2 Sunday. Lester went 8.0 innings, surrendering one run and striking out nine in a 10-3 win over the Reds in his last outing.
The odds for St. Louis and Chicago are even, while the Over/Under (O/U) is currently not available. Within its division, St. Louis has a record of 46-30 SU. Opposing offenses have been stifled by the Cardinals, who have a team ERA of only 2.93. The Cardinals are the fifth-best team in the NL at limiting hits to their opponents, allowing only 8.4 hits per game so far this season.
The Cubs are 46-30 against teams in their division. Chicago is excellent at drawing walks with an NL-best 3.5 per game. Chicago's pitching staff is one of the best in the NL at pitching on the road, with a 3.33 ERA. When it comes to preventing batters from getting on base, the Cubs are the best in the league with a WHIP of 1.15 for the season. The Cubs have established a reputation of overwhelming hitters with an NL-best 8.8 strikeouts per game.
The Cardinals lead the season series, 11-8. The Cardinals have a 24-18 record against left-handed starting pitchers on the year, which is what they'll be facing when Lester takes the mound. Lackey (RHP) will be on the hill against the Cubs, who have a 78-51 record against right-handed starting pitchers.
Predictions: SU Winner - ChC
The Cardinals and the Cubs hold winning records against the NL Central Division this season. The Cardinals sit at 46-30 and the Cubs have a 47-30 record.
St. Louis has won 57% (34-26) of its games when leading after seven innings. However, Chicago has won 59% (38-26) of its games when taking a late lead.
The Cubs are coming into this game after allowing no walks during their last outing. The Cardinals have a 3-8 record when opponents don't give up any walks.
When they are outhit, the Cubs are 18-46. The Cardinals have a 24-43 record when opponents outhit them.
St. Louis ranks near the bottom of the league at 25th when it comes to home runs, hitting 137 this season. Chicago ranks in the top half at 11th with 173.
Ranking 14th, Chicago is in the top half of the league in hits, notching 8.26 per game. St. Louis ranks in the top 10 at sixth with 8.55.
St. Louis and Chicago both rank in the bottom half of the league for their on-base plus slugging percentage. St. Louis sits at 19th with an OPS of .718 and Chicago ranks 17th with an OPS of .721.
The Cubs are 43-42 in games where they allow one or more home runs. The Cardinals are 41-45 when they allow at least one homer.