The Chicago Cubs will look to build off their biggest comeback win of the season when they take on the visiting St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night in the third of a scheduled five-game set.
Chicago and St. Louis split a doubleheader Monday, with the Cardinals winning 3-1 in the series opener and the Cubs rallying for a 5-4 win in the nightcap. Chicago trailed 4-1 entering the sixth inning of the scheduled seven-inning game, but Willson Contreras delivered an RBI double and David Bote belted a three-run home run.
Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo marveled at Bote’s late-inning heroics.
“He’s done that a time or two,” Rizzo said to reporters. “It’s a spark, and it’s energetic after a long day.”
Now comes the middle game of the prolonged series. The teams have another doubleheader Wednesday as the teams look to make up games from a series scheduled for Aug. 7-9 that was lost because of a COVID-19 outbreak in the Cardinals’ clubhouse.
Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish (3-1, 1.88 ERA) is scheduled to make his fifth start of the season and his first against St. Louis. He is coming off a stellar performance in which he carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Milwaukee Brewers and went on to earn the victory.
In his past three outings, Darvish has allowed two runs in 20 innings for a 0.90 ERA. He has four walks and 27 strikeouts in 24 innings on the season.
Darvish, who turned 34 years old on Sunday, is 0-2 with a 4.07 ERA in four career starts against St. Louis. All of those appearances came last season. The Cardinals are the only National League Central opponent (other than the Cubs) that he has not earned a victory against during his career.
The Cardinals will counter with right-hander Daniel Ponce de Leon (0-1, 6.75), who is set to make his second start of the season and the 14th of his career. The 28-year-old took the loss in his first start of the season against the Minnesota Twins on July 29, which proved to be his team’s last game for weeks.
Ponce de Leon has faced the Cubs only once before, as a reliever in 2018. He pitched a scoreless inning, walking none and striking out one.
In his start against Minnesota, Ponce de Leon relied upon mostly fastballs in the early going before turning to more breaking balls as the game developed.
“I think Yadi (catcher Yadier Molina) got a little more trust in calling it as he saw it was landing in there a little later,” Ponce de Leon said to reporters. “Usually, we would resort back to the fastball to work through the jams and then sprinkle in the off-speed, but (against the Twins) it was the opposite.”
Ponce de Leon and the Cardinals’ bullpen will have to look out for Rizzo, who has reached base in 31 consecutive games at Wrigley Field. He went 1-for-2 with a double and drew a pair of walks on Monday night.
As for St. Louis, Brad Miller will look to stay hot at the plate after notching his 12th career multi-homer game. Miller also delivered the go-ahead hit in the first part of Monday’s twin-bill when he hammered a two-run double to the gap in left-center field.
–Field Level Media