Cardinals vs Cubs

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As the Chicago Cubs work toward establishing more consistency in what has been a sluggish start, manager Joe Maddon firmly believes it’s just a matter of time before his starting rotation finds its footing.Cubs starters have routinely put pressure on the bullpen by struggling to work deep into games. But as the Cubs welcome their National League Central rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals, to Wrigley Field for a three-game series starting Monday, Maddon is remaining patient.Tyler Chatwood will start Monday against the Cardinals after his scheduled start Sunday against Atlanta was postponed because of inclement weather. Chatwood (0-2, 4.91 ERA) is seeking his first win with the Cubs after he dropped his first two outings against the Cincinnati Reds and the Milwaukee Brewers.

Chatwood, who won 20 games in the past two seasons with the Colorado Rockies, signed a three-year, $38 million contract with the Cubs in the offseason. Chatwood is 0-2 in four career appearances (one start) against St. Louis.Chatwood has pitched at least five innings in his first two starts. On Monday, he hopes to improve on the effort of fellow starter Jose Quintana, who allowed seven runs in 2 1/3 innings in Saturday’s 14-10 come-from-behind Cubs victory over the Braves.We haven’t gotten any depth (from starters),” Maddon said Saturday. “We’re surviving it and I look at that as a positive because they’re so good and they’re going to turn it on and they’re going to get on a nice little roll.”

The Cubs are also expected to welcome All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo back from the 10-day disabled list. Rizzo has been out with back tightness, but Maddon said twice during the weekend that he expects Rizzo to be healthy enough to play starting Monday.The Cardinals, who will enter this week’s series fresh off a sweep of Cincinnati after Sunday’s 3-2 victory over the Reds, also expect to be getting healthier as they face the Cubs.Infielder Jedd Gyorko and reliever Luke Gregerson could rejoin the Cardinals this week, manager Mike Matheny told reporters on Saturday.

Gyorko has been out with a right hamstring strain and has been playing in extended spring training games recently in Florida. Gregerson suffered a strained left hamstring during the final week of spring training and recently made his fourth minor league rehabilitation appearance on April 13, according to“We’re still figuring out the exact details, but (Gyorko) might be back here sooner rather than later,” Matheny told reporters on Saturday.Adam Wainwright (0-2, 5.06 ERA) will start for the Cardinals. He is coming off a strong seven-inning effort in which he struck out four and didn’t allow a walk while scattering eight hits against Milwaukee. Wainwright is 14-9 with a 4.03 ERA in 34 career starts against the Cubs.

Wainwright, who is in the final year of his contract at age 36, demonstrated in his most recent start that he’s capable of helping the Cardinals move in the right direction.“That’s how I pitched all spring training,” Wainwright told reporters after his start against the Brewers on April 11. “(The first start of the year) was the anomaly — not this one. I expect to go out and carry us deep into games.”So Maddon will count on Anthony Rizzo to tell him how he is feeling Monday when the All-Star first baseman is scheduled to return after a 10-day disabled-list stint for back soreness.

With the Cardinals in town, the Cubs would love to get Rizzo’s bat back in the lineup.But here’s a potential problem: Monday night’s game-time temperature is projected to be 34 degrees, with a strong breeze from the west making for a wind chill of 24.“If he’s ready to roll, we’ll probably play him,” Maddon said. “But we’ll keep an eye on him. Does he need to be brought back into it slowly? I’m not sure.“He’s feeling really good. I watched him work out in the gym and he looks fine. I trust the guys and ask them questions. When the guys are honest with you, it makes the decision-making so much easier.”

Rizzo has yet to get going. He’s 3-for-28 with one homer, one walk and seven strikeouts.On the rubber: The Cubs will slide their rotation back a day after Sunday’s postponement, meaning Tyler Chatwood, Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks will face the Cardinals. Yu Darvish gets a bonus rest day but has to take on the Rockies on Friday at Coors Field.The Cardinals (9-7) exited Cincinnati on Sunday after a four-game sweep. First baseman Jose Martinez already has 15 RBIs and outfielder Tommy Pham has a .429 on-base percentage. Dexter Fowler, now playing right field but still leading off, is hitting just .183 with only one stolen base.

A day for Jackie: The Cubs will reschedule Jackie Robinson Day at Wrigley Field to give thanks to the pioneer who wore No. 42.“He added so much life to the game,” Maddon said. “I think people showed up just to see him play. Regardless of skin color, he was just a good, energetic, entertaining baseball player.”Maddon said he wishes he could have met Robinson after learning about him from Don Zimmer, Al Campanis and Preston Gomez.

Extra innings: Cubs batters have been hit by a pitch 15 times in their first 14 games, a major-league high. The White Sox are second at 13. Kris Bryant leads baseball after getting plunked five times. … Cubs catchers Willson Contreras and Victor Caratini have wiped out four of seven would-be base-stealers, the best percentage in MLB. … Bryant and Freddie Freeman of the Braves are tied for the NL lead with a .493 on-base percentage.CHICAGO — Who’s the favorite to win the National League Central? The Cubs and Cardinals will square off Monday night, and each will try to gain an edge in the division.

Last year, the Cubs dominated the series, 14-5, including an 8-1 mark at Wrigley Field.”We played a lot of tight games last year and it came down to who is going to get the big hit?” Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong said. “Everyone is always really excited to play in this rivalry.”Remembering those experiences and learning from them and trying to use those experiences will help us this year, because this division is more up for grabs,” DeJong said. “You can see that from the beginning. There is no clear team right now. These games are huge for us. We have to come out ready to play.”

Tyler Chatwood was scheduled to start Sunday vs. the Braves, but that game was postponed because of the weather, so the right-hander will start Monday for the Cubs against the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright.For Wainwright, this will be his 35th career start against the Cubs and 19th at Wrigley Field, where he’s 10-2 with a 3.79 ERA.


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