Cubs play the Cardinals following Hamels’ strong performance
St. Louis Cardinals (31-30, third in the NL Central) vs. Chicago Cubs (35-27, first in the NL Central)
Chicago; Saturday, 7:15 p.m. EDT
PITCHING PROBABLES: Cardinals: Jack Flaherty (4-3, 3.76 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 73 strikeouts) Cubs: Jon Lester (4-4, 3.32 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 56 strikeouts)
BOTTOM LINE: Chicago heads into the matchup fresh off a dominant performance by Cole Hamels. Hamels threw eight innings, surrendering zero runs on three hits with 10 strikeouts against St. Louis.
The Cubs are 11-11 against the rest of their division. Chicago’s team on-base percentage of .336 is fifth in the majors. Willson Contreras leads the club with an OBP of .392.
The Cardinals are 15-15 against NL Central Division opponents. St. Louis has slugged .411 this season. Marcell Ozuna leads the club with a .518 slugging percentage, including 28 extra-base hits and 16 home runs. The Cubs won the last meeting 3-1. Cole Hamels notched his fifth victory and Javier Baez went 1-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs for Chicago. Miles Mikolas registered his sixth loss for St. Louis.
TOP PERFORMERS: Anthony Rizzo leads the Cubs with 16 home runs and is batting .280. Kyle Schwarber is 9-for-35 with a double, three home runs and four RBIs over the last 10 games for Chicago.
Ozuna leads the Cardinals with 51 RBIs and is batting .250. Matt Wieters is 5-for-26 with two doubles, two home runs and four RBIs over the last 10 games for St. Louis.
LAST 10 GAMES: Cubs: 5-5, .227 batting average, 3.61 ERA, outscored opponents by four runs
Cardinals: 5-5, .204 batting average, 3.34 ERA, outscored by five runs
Cubs Injuries: Allen Webster: 60-day IL (hand), Brandon Morrow: 60-day IL (elbow), Kendall Graveman: 60-day IL (elbow), Xavier Cedeno: 10-day IL (wrist), Tony Barnette: 60-day IL (shoulder).
Cardinals Injuries: Miles Mikolas: day-to-day (forearm), Mike Mayers: 10-day IL (shoulder), Brett Cecil: 60-day IL (wrist/forearm), Matt Carpenter: day-to-day (leg), Yadier Molina: 10-day IL (thumb).