Cubs try for first sweep of Cards since 2010, Lynn takes to the hill
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: Lance Lynn #31 of the St. Louis Cardinals in action against the New York Mets during their game at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) By Al Bello
CHICAGO, IL - MAY 04: Luis Valbuena #24 of the Chicago Cubs is greeted by Starlin Castro #13 after scoring against the St. Louis Cardinals on May 4, 2014 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) By David Banks
CHICAGO, IL - MAY 04: Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a two-RBI single during the ninth inning against the Chicago Cubs on May 4, 2014 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) By David Banks
(BaseballStL) – In their first prime-time game of the season, Lance Lynn will take the hill for the Cardinals against the Chicago Cubs’ starter with the most wins, Jason Hammel, in hopes to avoid a sweep by the Cubs. And both Lynn and Hammel are looking for win number five.
During the past three seasons, Lynn has struggled at Wrigley Field posting a 5.55 ERA in 4 starts. Worst of all, in those 4 starts he has given up 5 home runs.
But only Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo and Nate Schierholtz have face Lynn more than 10 times. Castro has success, batting .370 with 1 triple and 3 doubles.
Hammel is 4-1 with a 2.08 ERA and a tiny 0.69 WHIP. Lynn will need more of the same when it comes to run support from his team and he has the chance despite Hammel’s recent success.
Jhonny Peralta has hit 2 home runs and 1 double in 15 at-bats against Hammel, which accounts for almost half of the at-bats the Redbirds have taken against Hammel.
Bringing out the Brooms
The last time the Cubs swept the Cardinals was September 15, 2010, the finale of a three game series at Busch Stadium. Jaime Garcia, Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter took the losses to Jeff Samardzija, Randy Wells and Carlos Zambrano, respectively.
The all-time record between the two clubs is 1174-1116, in favor of the Cubs.
The last times the Cardinals swept the Cubs was July 22, 2012, the end of a weekend series at Busch Stadium, too. Kyle Lohse, Jake Westbrook and Lance Lynn recorded all three victories.
Checking in with former Redbirds
The New York Yankees desperately need a healthy Carlos Beltran, who last April hit 5 home runs with 17 RBIs and an average of .307, but right now he’s finding it a hard time to hit. Although Beltran has hit 5 homers this season and 13 RBIs, his average has dipped down to .255 and the Yankees have lost three straight (15-12 overall).
Beltran also had an injury scare just two weeks ago when he ran full speed into a short fence at Tropicana Field. MRIs were negative, but he’s recently gone 0 for 17 until Friday night.
Albert Pujols has found success after being injured for most of last season. He is in the top 15 among American League hitters with 33 hits and 8 doubles. He is second in the league with 9 homers and in the top 4 with 23 RBIs. His strong hitting has led the Angels to third in the AL with 151 runs and second in slugging percentage (.436). They are just 3.5 games back from the Oakland A’s.
Pujols joined the 500 home run club in April and became the first player to hit home runs numbered 499 and 500 in the same game.
“The homers he’s hit this year, they’ve been long ones,” team mate Mike Trout told ESPN, “He’s squaring balls up. That’s the Albert I’m used to seeing. Full, healthy, 100 percent healthy.”
David Freese suffered a broken finger after being hit by a pitch in Friday night’s game against the Texas Rangers, but that is just one of problems for the former Cards third baseman. Freese has been struggling batting just above .200 and 27 strikeouts.
Kyle Lohse and the Milwaukee Brewers continue to roll through the NL with a 6 game lead over the Cardinals. Lohse leads his team in innings pitched, 40.0. He and Wily Peralta also lead the Brewers with 4 wins.