This game could be low scoring as Jason Hammel (5-4, 2.89 ERA) and the Chicago Cubs (46-37) go up against Michael Wacha (10-3, 2.66 ERA) and the St. Louis Cardinals (54-30) in the last of a four-game series at Wrigley Field. The Cubs won the last game 5-3 and Chicago leads the series 2-1. The game gets underway at 8:05 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Jul. 8 and will air on FSN-MW, CSN-CHI and ESPN.
Hammel has a 6.57 ERA and a 1-3 record in his career against the Cardinals, and is up against a solid St. Louis offense that's hitting .259 on the year. In his career against the Cubs, Wacha is 3-1 with a 2.87 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 31 strikeouts. Jhonny Peralta (.293, 37 Rs, 11 HRs, 42 RBIs, 1 SB) went 1 for 5 yesterday.
Chicago is a small +100 underdog in this game and the Over/Under (O/U) is set at seven runs. When playing as the underdog, the Cubs have a 17-16 record and overall money line at +391. They have an 18-18 record SU and are 6-9 as the underdog within their division. Chicago has averaged 2.8 runs per game over the last 10 games, lower than its season average of 3.9. Over their past 10 games, Chicago's pitchers have been playing lights out, only allowing 2.7 runs per game, below their season average of 3.7. The Cubs lead the league in WHIP at 1.17. The have been extremely effective at striking opposing batters out, leading the NL with 8.7 strikeouts per game.
Across the field, the Cardinals have a nice record of 44-17 when they are favored and are +2,037 overall with the money line. Against fellow NL Central members, they are 23-9 SU and have played well as the favorite with a 19-5 record. They have the lowest ERA in the NL at 2.56. They also allow just 8.1 hits per game, good for fourth in the NL. The St. Louis pitching staff has been an intimidating group this year, averaging 8.1 strikeouts per game.
The Cardinals have gotten the better of the Cubs in head-to-head matchups this season, going 8-4. The Cubs will take on a right-hander (Wacha) in this game and have a 37-33 record against right-handed starting pitchers this season. Taking the hill against the Cardinals will be the right-hander Hammel. Right-handed starters haven't been a big issue for them as they sport a 46-18 record.
Predictions: SU Winner - STL, O/U - Over
The Cardinals hold a 23-10 record in matchups against NL Central Division rivals, while the Cubs currently sit at 19-18 in these games.
When the Cubs play into extra innings, they have a 10-4 record. The Cardinals are 6-5 when their games exceed nine innings.
The Cardinals are coming off of a weak pitching game where they recorded five strikeouts. The Cubs have a record of 10-3 when opponents' pitchers have that many strikeouts or fewer.
When they are outhit, the Cubs are 10-27. The Cardinals have a 13-20 record when opponents outhit them.
St. Louis ranks near the bottom of the league at 25th when it comes to home runs, hitting 64 this season. Chicago ranks in the top half at 14th with 76.
Ranking 14th, Chicago is in the top half of the league in hits, notching 8.15 per game. St. Louis ranks in the top five at fifth with 8.74.
Ranking 22nd, Chicago is near the bottom of the league for its on-base plus slugging percentage (.694). St. Louis ranks in the top half at 15th with an OPS of .714.
When the Cardinals allow at least one home run, they are 23-21. When the Cubs allow one or more homers, they have a 23-24 record.