Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Arrieta faces Lynn as Cards-Cubs series continues

Now past the pomp and circumstance that enveloped Opening Night on Sunday, the Cubs and Cardinals will enjoy an off-day on Monday before resuming a three-game series at Wrigley Field on Tuesday. The Cubs will send Jake Arrieta, 2-0 with a 0.92 ERA in five career starts against St. Louis, to the mound to face Lance Lynn. Lynn, who was mildly slowed by a left hip flexor strain this spring, slots into the No. 2 spot in the rotation after signing a three-year extension with the Cardinals in the offseason.
Things to know about the game:
• At 0-for-11, Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter has more hitless at-bats against Arrieta than against any other pitcher in baseball. The drought is especially surprising given Carpenter's career .301 average against right-handed pitchers. In fact, Arrieta is the only right-hander Carpenter has faced at least seven times without recording a hit.
• Last season, Arrieta did not make his first Major League start until May 3, spending Spring Training rehabbing a tight right shoulder. This spring was different and he feels like he's further along than he was last year. His goal is to pitch 200 innings this season, something he has yet to accomplish in his career.
• Cubs manager Joe Maddon experimented with having the pitcher bat eighth this spring and slotted Jon Lester there on Sunday night. He will continue to do so as long as he can insert a leadoff-type hitter in the No. 9 hole. His options include Tommy La Stella, who hit ninth on Sunday, Chris Coghlan and Arismendy Alcantara. Asked if he might do the same, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said he doesn't see a reason to do so given the makeup of his lineup.

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