|4:15 PM PT5:15 PM MT6:15 PM CT7:15 PM ET19:15 ET23:15 GMT7:15 4:15 PM MST6:15 PM EST6:45 PM VEN3:15 UAE (+1)6:15 PM CT, June 1, 2019
Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri Attendance: 46,297
Cardinals look for fresh start against Cubs
Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals
- The Cubs lost two of three games against the Astros in their last series. Chicago also its prior series against the Reds, marking the first time that the Cubs have lost consecutive series since losing their first three series of the season.
- St. Louis is 8-18 (.308) in May, the worst record in the NL over that time. The last month where the Cardinals played at least 20 games and had a winning percentage lower than their current mark this May was July 1994, when the team went 8-20 (.286).
- The Cubs swept the Cardinals in three games in their only series of the season in early May. The last time that Chicago won its first four games of the season against St. Louis was in 1978, when the Cubs started the season 12-0 against the Cardinals.
- Yu Darvish allowed a career-high 12 hits in his most recent outing, an 8-6 win over Cincinnati on May 25. In his three starts directly prior, Darvish allowed a combined 10 hits, holding opponents to a .179 BAA.
- Marcell Ozuna has 49 RBI this season, the most by a Cardinal prior to June since Albert Pujols (65) in 2006. Ozuna has 19.1 percent of his team's RBI this season, the third-highest percentage responsible for by any player in the majors (Josh Bell, Pit -- 23.4 percent, Jose Abreu, CWS -- 21.0 percent).
- The Cubs have four qualifying players with an OPS over .900 this season: Anthony Rizzo (.993), Kris Bryant (.979), Willson Contreras (.970) and Javier Baez (.924). The last time that Chicago had four qualifiers with a .900+ OPS entering June was in 2004 (Sammy Sosa, Michael Barrett, Moises Alou and Aramis Ramirez).
- Manfred: Astros' penalties may be broad
- More sex charges filed against Vazquez
- Braves keep RHP Martin for 2 years, $14M
- Japan star P Yamaguchi eyes move to MLB
- Mets' Céspedes takes batting practice
Savvy St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong is adept at turning double plays.
These days, he's equally excitable about flipping calendar pages.
"I hate May," Wong told reporters this week. "A lot of us have just been counting down the days until this month is done. It's been frustrating on every single aspect."
An 8-18 record during this past month -- a veritable May-laise -- naturally spurred a sour sentiment among the Cardinals, who opened May at 10 games over .500 with a three-game lead over the Chicago Cubs for first place in the National League Central.
As of Saturday, with the Cardinals preparing to host the Cubs in their first game of June, St. Louis is 28-28 and tied for third place in the division, 3 1/2 games behind Chicago.
Despite his club's extended struggles, Cardinals manager Mike Shildt reaffirmed his belief that the team can return to its winning ways. St. Louis opened the series Friday with a 2-1 victory in 10 innings, with Matt Carpenter hitting a walk-off double with the bases loaded.
"'Trust' is a word I use a lot," Shildt said. "Quite honestly, I manage with it. It can't be blind, but it's also there. I trust our group. I trust our guys to make plays and make pitches. I can't manage scared -- and I won't. But I'll manage to their strengths with the expectation that they'll execute."
If the Cardinals are to recover sooner rather than later, the resurgence must begin without All-Star catcher Yadier Molina, who on Friday was placed on the 10-day injured list with a tendon strain in his right thumb. The team has not established a timetable for his return.
"He's been trying to do what he can the last couple of days, just not something that, after what the imaging looked like today, looked like it wasn't going to heal with some more time and care," Shildt said Friday. "For a mortal person, it'd probably be an X amount of time, but for Yadi, it'll be something different."
Former All-Star Matt Wieters looks to take on an added role in Molina's absence. St. Louis purchased the contract of rookie Andrew Knizner from Triple-A Memphis to serve as the backup.
Whomever is behind the plate Saturday is expected to catch right-hander Jack Flaherty (4-3, 3.77 ERA), who is coming off a sterling outing in his most recent start. Flaherty scattered three hits and finished with seven strikeouts in six scoreless innings in Sunday's no-decision against the Atlanta Braves, and he has a 2.78 ERA in his past six starts. In five appearances (four starts) against the Cubs, Flaherty is 1-2 with a 3.72 ERA.
Jose Quintana (4-4, 3.73 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Cubs, and he has a 5-3 record and 3.75 ERA in nine career starts against the Cardinals. Quintana has worked at least six innings in six of his 10 starts, but fell short of that threshold on Sunday, when he yielded six runs -- five earned -- and a career-high 12 hits in 5 1/3 innings in a home loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
"That's really tough," Quintana said. "Too many base hits."
Cubs manager Joe Maddon concurred, but also acknowledged a bit of rough luck in the form of several soft hits that landed just beyond the infield.
"They didn't just beat him up," Maddon said. "It was one of those things that balls were falling in and it just seemed like he couldn't make a pitch when he needed to."
--Field Level Media
Updated June 1, 2019