(Sports Network) - After beginning their road trip with an offensive showcase,
the St. Louis Cardinals found offense hard to come by against the Chicago Cubs
The Cards may not need too many runs to earn a split of their two-game set
against the Cubs with Jake Westbrook and his MLB-leading earned run average
set to take the hill in Wednesday's finale.
The veteran right-hander is 2-1 on the year through five starts with an
outstanding 1.07 ERA. He has allowed one run or fewer in four of his outings
and has gone at least six innings each time. Westbrook is coming off a victory
in Milwaukee on Thursday -- the 100th of his career -- as he held the Brewers
to a run on six hits and three walks over six innings.
Westbrook picked up his first win since a five-hit shutout of the Cincinnati
Reds on April 10, but felt he was lucky to get the victory.
"Made some mistakes and got away with some things, to be honest with you," the
35-year-old told the Cards' website. "A lot of hard-hit balls that were hit
right at guys that could have made it a different ballgame. Like I said, I got
away with some stuff, but that's baseball sometimes."
Westbrook is 5-2 in his career versus the Cubs despite a 4.14 ERA in eight
The Cardinals plated 24 runs during a four-game sweep of the Brewers, but were
held to just Allen Craig's second-inning solo homer in Tuesday's 2-1 loss to
Lance Lynn took a tough-luck loss, his first of the season, as he allowed four
hits and fanned eight over seven frames. The lone dent was Nate Schierholtz's
two-run homer in the fourth.
"We had guys in scoring position. We've been talking about how those
situations that haven't been that frequent. Tonight it didn't happen.
Sometimes you have those kind of nights," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny.
The Cardinals had a six-game winning streak stopped and lost for the first
time in their past eight on the road.
Alfonso Soriano had two hits and was on base when Schierholtz went deep, while
Travis Wood gave up just the run and five hits with eight strikeouts over 6
"He's been one of the best starters in baseball so far, he's got it figured
out," Cubs manager Dave Sveum said of Wood. "He's been able to pitch to both
side of the plate. He can do pretty much whatever he wants with ball right
Carlos Villanueva has begun to cool off since his quick start to the season
and the Cubs hope that the righty can rebound on Wednesday afternoon.
Villanueva began the season 1-0 with a 1.53 ERA through his first four
outings, but has lost consecutive starts while allowing four runs in each.
That has bumped his ERA up to 2.85.
The right-hander lasted a season-low 5 2/3 innings versus the Cincinnati Reds
on Friday, giving up seven hits and a pair of walks in the 6-5 setback.
Villanueva, 29, has faced the Cardinals 25 times over his career with seven
starts. In that time he is 5-3 with a 3.10 ERA.
The Cardinals were 10-7 versus the Cubs last season, winning seven of the
final 10 meetings, but lost five of nine in Chicago.
The Sports Network