CHICAGO -- The St. Louis Cardinals hope the addition of A.J. Pierzynski provides them with the spark that has been lacking since they briefly took over sole possession of first place a week ago.
Going into Sunday night’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Cards were on a tear and had erased the 6.5 game lead the Milwaukee Brewers once held. A loss Sunday afternoon by the Brew Crew put the Cards a half game ahead until the Sunday night loss.
Since then it has not been pretty. They were swept at home by the Tampa Bay Rays and lost the first game of the series to the last place Cubs Friday to fall three games back, tied with Pittsburgh for second place in the NL Central.
The Cards (54-48) send Shelby Miller (7-8, 4.25 ERA) against Jake Arietta (5-2, 2.12 ERA) of the Cubs (41-59) in the 103rd game of the year with just 58 left to play after today.
Matt Carpenter, 6-13, has homered in two of last three games. Currently third among NL leadoff men with 36 RBIs.
Matt Holliday, three homers and seven RBIs since All-star break. Has team-high 52 RBIs and leads majors with 14 game-winning hits.
Jhonny Peralta, 5-15 over last four games. 14 homers ranks third among NL shortstops and leads Cards.
Oscar Taveras, 3-5 with three-game hitting streak and an RBI as a pinch hitter Friday.
Matt Adams, 0-7, including 0-5 Friday; Allen Craig, 0-8; Daniel Descalso, 0-6; Mark Ellis, 0-4.
•Cards are 5-5 against the Cubs this year, but just 1-3 at Wrigley Field. Good news, though, they are 11-5 on Saturdays this season.
•Cards are 25-25 on the road, 20-18 in day games (8-10 on the road).
•The Cardinals all-time have a losing record against the Cubs, going 1,131-1,185 and just 436-497 at Wrigley. However, this includes the era in which the Redbirds were known as the St. Louis Perfectos, which should not count since that is a stupid name. But since they were the Cardinals, it is actually worse. Since 1900 (the year the team was officially named the St. Louis Cardinals), the Cubs hold a 1,124-1,092 advantage, including 602-506 in Chicago. Inexplicably, the Cards have outscored the Cubs 9,740-9,602.
•The Cards and Cubs are tied 20-20 in July since 1988.
• Shelby Miller will tie Adam Wainwright for the second most starts (20) on the club this year. Lance Lynn has 21.
•Mike Matheny is just 2-13 in challenges this year.
•The Redbirds have 16 come from behind wins this year, but have not won a game when trailing after eight innings (0-39).
•Peter Bourjos needs one more stolen base for 50 in his career. Matt Carpenter needs four more hits for 400. Tomorrow’s starter Adam Wainwright needs one more complete game for 20.
•Wainwright has not been as dominant against the Cubs in his career as he has the rest of the league. Waino is 9-7 with an ERA of 4.44 in 34 games against the Cubs (25 as a starter). He is 6-1 with an ERA of 4.16 at Wrigley, his only loss coming on May 2 this year, 6-5. His 2.02 ERA still leads the National League.