Chicago Cubs (Lackey 2-0, 5.68) at St. Louis Cardinals (Leake 0-1, 6.97) 8pm ET on ESPN & FOX Sports Midwest
It’s a Battle of the Exes, as former Cubs starter John Lackey faces his old teammates, the St. Louis Cardinals. Lackey has a beefy 5.68 ERA thus far, but thanks to the kind of run support one can only hope for from the Cubbies, he’s 2-0. In his first outing, he allowed 6 runs on 8 hits – including 2 homers – but got the win in a 14-9 fireworks display with the Arizona Diamondbacks. More recently, on Wednesday, he pitched 6 ⅔ strong innings against the Cincinnati Reds, allowing just 2 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks, with 7 strikeouts, while keeping the ball in the yard. And he went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. Not a bad day.
Overall the Cubs have been about as good as expected, as their record stands at 9-3 following a 2-0 loss Sunday to the Rockies, good enough to put them atop the NL Central, which last year featured the three winningest teams in baseball. The loss in the season’s second game of left fielder Kyle Schwarber has proven to be barely a bump in the road, as Jorge Soler has produced a perfectly decent .745 OPS. What’s been carrying the Cubs thus far has been the starting pitching, as their rotation has an ERA of just 2.49, with only Lackey posting an ERA above 3.00.
Taking the hill for the Cards is the man brought in to replace Lackey, MIke Leake. After lasting just 4 ⅓ innings and giving up 4 runs in his Cardinals debut, Leake fared marginally better in his next game, lasting 6 innings, but again giving up 4 runs. This time, however, he managed to flip his strikeout-to-walk ratio from 1-to-3 to 6-to-1, so we’re at least moving in the right direction.
The Cards are in second place in the Central at 7-5, trailing the Cubs by 2 games. With the exception of 2B Kolten Wong, the Cards have been raking, leading the NL an .872 OPS, and 85 runs scored. Even Starters Jaime Garcia and Carlos Martinez are hitting a combined 5 for 11. First baseman Brandon Moss has been crushing the ball, finding himself in the top 10 in slugging, runs, home runs, and RBI. But the biggest surprise has to be the hot hitting of Aledmys Díaz, who after 34 plate appearances has a slash line of .406/.441/.813. Probably not gonna keep that up, but, hey…
Watch the Chicago Cubs vs. the St. Louis Cardinals at 8pm ET Monday on ESPN by subscribing to the Best of Live TV package..
Here’s the action from the FOX Sports Regional Networks across the land for Best of Live TV Beta Multi-Stream subscribers:
Colorado Rockies (Lyles 0-1, 11.25) at Cincinnati Reds (Simon 0-1, 12.15) 7:10pm ET on FOX Sports Cincinnati
Washington Nationals (Roark 1-1, 2.45) at Miami Marlins (Fernandez 0-1, 5.06) 7:10pm ET on FOX Sports Florida
Los Angeles Angels (Santiago 0-0, 3.95) at Chicago White Sox (Rodon 1-1, 1.38) 8:10pm ET on FOX Sports West
Milwaukee Brewers (Anderson 1-0, 0.00) at Minnesota Twins (Hughes 0-2, 4.38) 8:10pm ET on FOX Sports North FOX Sports Wisconsin & FOX Sports Wisconsin
Arizona Diamondbacks (Bradley 0-0, 0.00) at San Francisco Giants (Peavy 0-1, 10.00) 10:15pm ET on FOX Sports Arizona
Watch baseball on FOX and FOX Sports Regional Networks by subscribing to the Best of Live TV Beta Multi-Stream package.