In case the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry didn't come with enough tension, the three-game series beginning Monday has a new storyline to watch.
Former Cardinals John Lackey and Jason Heyward will return to St. Louis for the first time since leaving St. Louis for Chicago in free agency this offseason.
Lackey will start the opener against Cardinals right-hander Mike Leake, who is 0-1 with a 6.97 ERA this year.
In his first two starts this season, Lackey is 2-0 with a 5.68 ERA. Meanwhile, Heyward returns to Busch Stadium amid a slow start to his season.
Heyward's departure from St. Louis after one year was particularly met with plenty of backlash, with pictures of a burned Heyward Cardinals jersey going viral soon after he signed an eight-year, $184 million deal with the Cubs.
Heyward said he's not sure what to expect regarding his return, but said he knows this will be a tightly contested series between two of the best teams in baseball.
And as for the jersey?
"They paid for it, so they can do whatever they want with it," Heyward joked.
Three things to know about this game
• Lackey was 11-4 with a 2.03 ERA at Busch Stadium in his two seasons with the Cardinals, but this will be the first time he has ever pitched against the club in the regular season. After Monday's start, the veteran will have faced every team in baseball.
• Leake is 9-2 with a 3.15 ERA in 19 starts against the Cubs.
• Heyward set career highs in batting average (.293), doubles (33), hits (160) and stolen bases (23) in his year with the Cardinals, but he enters Monday's opener hitting below the Mendoza Line this season.