MLB Baseball

Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
Chi Cubs0 1 1 1 0 0 0 4 0 771
St. Louis3 2 0 0 1 0 2 0 x 8101
  W: Z. Duke (1-1)   L: J. Arrieta (14-10)   S: J. Nicasio (5)
5:15 PM PT6:15 PM MT7:15 PM CT8:15 PM ET20:15 ET0:15 GMT8:15 5:15 PM MST7:15 PM EST7:45 PM VEN4:15 UAE (+1)7:15 PM CT, September 26, 2017
Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri  Attendance: 41,944

Cubs look to clinch division title against Cardinals

According to STATS
According to STATS

Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals

  1. The Cubs beat the Brewers, 5-0, on Sunday, taking three of four over the weekend in Milwaukee, and improving to 10-2 in their last 12 games overall. Chicago's Magic Number to clinch the NL Central is two.
  2. St. Louis lost, 4-1, in Pittsburgh yesterday, dropping its second straight at PNC Park, and finishing up its last road trip of the season with a mark of 4-5. The Cardinals are 18-8 (.692) at Busch Stadium since July 8 -- the best home record of any NL club.
  3. Chicago swept three from St. Louis at Wrigley Field in these clubs' last series (September 15-17), and has won five straight against the Cards overall, allowing three or fewer runs in each of those wins. The Cubs and Cardinals have split six games in St. Louis this year.
  4. Jon Lester allowed a season-high seven runs (all earned) in 4.1 IP last Wednesday in Tampa, taking the loss and snapping his personal three-game win streak. Lester is 3-1 with a 2.06 ERA in his last six outings against the Cardinals.
  5. Luke Weaver went 5.0 innings and allowed two runs last Wednesday in Cincinnati, earning the victory, and improving to 7-0 with a 1.69 ERA in his last seven starts. The only MLB hurlers to win as many as eight straight starts in 2017 are Clayton Kershaw (8) and Jacob deGrom (8).
  6. Kyle Schwarber has 29 home runs in 2017, with four of those coming against the Cardinals. Randal Grichuk has 20 bombs on the year, with five of those coming against the Cubs.
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 9/25/2017 thru 9/28/2017
Chicago Cubs' Javier Baez, left, is congratulated by teammates Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist after hitting a three-run home run against the St. Louis Cardinals during the third inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. (Chris Lee/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

ST. LOUIS -- The champagne will be on ice Tuesday night in Busch Stadium when the Cubs face the St. Louis Cardinals, with Chicago trying to clinch its second straight National League Central title.

It is taking the Cubs (88-68) much longer to reach this point than it did a year ago, when they poured the bubbly in mid-September and won the division by 17 1/2 games. However, manager Joe Maddon feels his team has finally reached the level of play he has asked for all season.

"We're definitely arriving at the same mental level we've had the last two seasons," he said Monday night after the Cubs' 10-2 rout of St. Louis. "The guys have been there, done that. They know what it's about."

The Cubs can wrap things up Tuesday with a win or a the Milwaukee Brewers loss to the Cincinnati Reds. Jake Arrieta (14-9, 3.43 ERA) will try to make sure they walk in through the front door. The right-hander will make his second start since a stint on the 10-day disabled list caused by a hamstring injury.

Arrieta returned to the rotation Thursday night in Chicago's 5-3, 10-inning victory over the Brewers, pitching five innings and allowing just one run on a solo homer. Arrieta settled for a no-decision.

In his career, Arrieta has been tough on the Cardinals, going 8-3 with a 2.06 ERA over 16 starts. That is the lowest ERA by any active pitcher against St. Louis. Arrieta is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA this year in three starts against the Cardinals.

Carlos Martinez (12-11, 3.63 ERA) will oppose Arrieta. It will be Martinez's fifth start of the year against Chicago. Martinez is 1-1 with a 4.26 ERA in the previous four outings, although his two games in St. Louis have been considerably better than the two at Wrigley Field. He is 4-4 with a 4.55 ERA in 23 career appearances, including 13 starts, against the Cubs.

Martinez last pitched Thursday night, notching an 8-5 win in Cincinnati despite giving up nine hits and four runs over 6 1/3 innings. He walked one and whiffed six.

The Cardinals hope Martinez will have regular batterymate Yadier Molina behind the plate Tuesday. Molina left the Monday game in the seventh inning after taking consecutive foul balls off the mask. He successfully passed the concussion protocol.

"The first one gave us some concern," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "He said everything was OK and he just needed a second. Unfortunately, the second one got him a little better. At that point, there was not going to be a conversation. We have to get him out."

The Monday night defeat officially eliminated the Cardinals (81-75) from the division race. They did manage to stay within 2 1/2 games of Colorado for the NL's second wild-card spot, getting help from Miami, which edged the Rockies 5-4 at Coors Field.

St. Louis has a game in hand on Colorado but will need the Rockies to lose at least two more games to have a shot at getting into the wild-card game. The Cardinals also trail Milwaukee by a game in the wild-card race, and St. Louis hosts the Brewers over the weekend to finish the season.

Updated September 26, 2017

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