In the last of a four-game series between the Chicago Cubs (73-42) and the St. Louis Cardinals (61-56) at Wrigley Field, John Lackey (9-7, 3.56 ERA) and Mike Leake (8-9, 4.79 ERA) get the start. The Cardinals won the last game 8-4, and Chicago leads the series 2-1. The game gets underway at 8:08 p.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 14 and will air on ESPN.
In his last start, Lackey pitched 8.0 innings, allowing one run, striking out six and walking one in a 5-1 victory over the Angels. Anthony Rizzo (.286, 70 Rs, 24 HRs, 82 RBIs, 3 SBs) went 1 for 4 yesterday. The Cardinals were unsuccessful the last time Leake pitched. He went 6.0 innings, allowing three runs and walking four in a 7-4 loss to the Reds. Matt Carpenter (.293, 59 Rs, 15 HRs, 56 RBIs) has been hitting the ball well, going 2 for 5 yesterday with one run.
Chicago is a considerable -194 favorite in this game and the Over/Under (O/U) is presently unavailable. The Cubs are in an interesting position this season. While they have a notable winning record in games where they're the favorite (68-34), their overall money line (-24) is less impressive. They are 8-1 as the favorite over their last 10 games. The Cubs seem to play better against their division opponents, averaging 6.0 runs per game, well over their season average of 5.1. Over their past 10 games, Chicago's pitchers have been playing lights out, only allowing 2.4 runs per game, below their season average of 3.4. The Cubs don't allow many hitters to get on base, leading the league with a 1.110 WHIP.
Switching gears, the Cardinals come into this game with a win percentage of .474 when playing as the underdog (18-20) and an overall money line of -447. Against teams in their division, they are 27-22 SU and 7-8 as the underdog. The Cardinals will be looking to pick it up in this one after recent offensive struggles. In their 10 most recent games, St. Louis's run production has dropped to 3.4 runs per game, compared to 5.1 for the duration of the season. St. Louis is one of the top home-run-hitting teams in the league with 160 home runs. The last 10 games have really brought the worst out of the St. Louis pitchers. They allowed 6.0 runs per game during that span, which is higher than their season average of 4.4.
The Cubs will take on a right-hander (Leake) in this game and have a 47-31 record against right-handed starting pitchers this season. Taking the hill against the Cardinals will be the right-hander Lackey. They sport a 46-36 record against righties.
Predictions: SU Winner - CHC
The Cubs hold a 30-15 record in matchups against NL Central rivals, while the Cardinals currently sit at 27-22 in these games.
The Cubs managed to give up four walks in their last game. They'll have to pick it up against the Cardinals who are coming in with a 36-13 record against opponents who give up that many walks or more.
When they are outhit, the Cardinals are 13-49. The Cubs have a 7-26 record when opponents outhit them.
Ranking 13th in home runs, Chicago has hit 143 this season. St. Louis ranks fourth with 160 home runs.
Ranking seventh, Chicago is in the top 10 of the league in hits, notching 8.68 per game. St. Louis ranks in the top five with 8.77.
Chicago and St. Louis both rank in the top five of the league for their on-base plus slugging percentage. Chicago sits at third with an OPS of .777, and St. Louis ranks fourth with an OPS of .773.
The Cardinals are 32-36 in games where they allow one or more home runs. The Cubs are 38-34 when they allow at least one homer.