Jon Lester (4-6, 3.74 ERA) and John Lackey (6-5, 3.30 ERA) take the hill in the first of a four-game series between the Chicago Cubs (44-36) and the St. Louis Cardinals (53-28) at Wrigley Field. Action begins at 8:05 p.m. ET on Monday, Jul. 6 and can be seen on FSN-MW, WGN and ESPN.
Lester is 1-1 with a 2.89 ERA in his appearances against the Cardinals, but goes up against a good St. Louis offense which is batting .260 this season. Kris Bryant (.279, 44 Rs, 12 HRs, 49 RBIs, 8 SBs) went 1 for 3 yesterday with one stolen base. Lackey is 2-1 with a 2.34 ERA against the Cubs in his career. He is up against a below-average Chicago offense that's batting just .240.
Chicago is a -123 favorite against St. Louis and the Over/Under (O/U) for this game is currently unavailable. The Cubs have an overall money line of +312 and a record as the favorite of 26-20. Within its division, Chicago has an 11-8 record as favorite and a 17-17 record SU. The Cubs have seen a decline in scoring as of late, averaging 2.3 runs during the last 10 games compared to their season average of 4.0 runs per game. Opposing batters know they're in for a battle when they play Chicago. The Cubs are one of the top teams when it comes to pitching, allowing just 3.7 runs per game. The Cubs are the top team in the league at limiting hits and walks to their opponents, recording a WHIP of 1.17 so far this season. Opponents have consistently been struck out by the Cubs, who lead the NL in strikeouts per game with 8.7.
In games where it is the underdog, St. Louis has a 9-11 record and an overall money line of +1,926. They have been on a bit of a dry streak over their last 10 games. They managed a 0-1 record when playing as the underdog. St. Louis's pitching staff has set the standard for its league, with an NL-low 2.62 ERA. When it comes to preventing batters from getting hits, the Cardinals are fourth in the NL with an average of 8.2 hits allowed per game. The Cardinals have established a reputation of overwhelming hitters with an NL-best 8.1 strikeouts per game, making them one of the top five teams in the league.
The Cardinals have controlled the season series, 7-2. The Cubs have a 36-32 record against right-handed starting pitchers on the year, which is what they'll be facing when Lackey takes the mound. Lester (LHP) will be on the hill against the Cardinals, who have a 7-11 record against left-handed starting pitchers.
Predictions: SU Winner - STL, O/U - Under
The Cardinals have a 22-8 record against teams in their division, while the Cubs are even against their rivals at 17-17.
When leading after 7 innings, St. Louis is 21-9, while Chicago is 17-15.
The Cubs are coming into this game after allowing one walk during their last outing. The Cardinals have a 9-6 record when opponents give up that many walks or fewer.
When they are outhit, the Cubs are 9-27. The Cardinals have a 13-19 record when opponents outhit them.
St. Louis ranks near the bottom of the league at 25th when it comes to home runs, hitting 63 this season. Chicago ranks in the top half at 13th with 75.
Ranking 14th, Chicago is in the top half of the league in hits, notching 8.24 per game. St. Louis ranks in the top five at fifth with 8.80.
Ranking 21st, Chicago is near the bottom of the league for its on-base plus slugging percentage (.695). St. Louis ranks in the top half at 12th with an OPS of .719.
When the Cardinals allow at least one home run, they are 23-20. When the Cubs allow one or more homers, they have a 22-24 record.