Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Garcia enters Cubs-Cards series coming off 1-hit gem

What will Jaime Garcia do for an encore? The Cardinals lefty is coming off a one-hit shutout of the Brewers in which he struck out a career-high 13 batters and walked one. Garcia will face the Cubs' Jason Hammel in Game 2 of this three-game series, the first between the two National League Central rivals.
Garcia has not faced the Cubs since 2012. Hammel, on the other hand, was 1-1 with a 5.73 ERA in three starts last season against the Cardinals, and also faced them in Game 4 of the NL Division Series at Wrigley Field. In that postseason game, he lasted three innings, giving up two runs in the first, but the Cubs rallied to win that game, 6-4, and the series.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon -- whose club won the series opener, 5-0 -- doesn't get caught up in the Chicago vs. St. Louis rivalry.
"If we're playing Milwaukee tonight, if we're playing Arizona tonight, if we're playing St. Louis -- for me, it matters the same, and I really mean that," Maddon said. "Let's win a game in April. April's almost over, let's have a good April. I don't apply any more weight. I think it's exciting to be here, absolutely. I think there will be a great response from the crowd."
St. Louis manager Mike Matheny expected the crowd to be pumped for the first of six series between the teams.
"Whatever it is that keeps people coming and sitting in these seats, that's what drives and pushes this game," Matheny said. "We know that we're going to have some Cubs fans here, but there are going to be an awful lot of people wearing red. I know they have been looking forward to this. There has been a lot of hype. Our angle on that is that it'll be fun to get out and not talk about it but actually play the game."
After ousting the Cardinals in the NLDS, Maddon said the Cubs can expect to have a target on their back this season.
"It doesn't really matter," Matheny said. "We can't control it, whether it's a lot of attention for or against or for somebody else. That's really out of our hands. I think we have some young players who might be overlooked for what they've been able to do for a short period of time. I like what our guys are doing. I focus on our team and not so much on everybody else.
"They can have all the hype they want. It can be a distraction. And I think if they focus on what another team is potentially going to do, that can be a distraction to. So there are always challenges, whether it's positive or negative."
Things to know about this game
• Jason Heyward boasts a career .296 average at Busch Stadium in 91 games prior to this series. Heyward was greeted by a mix of boos and cheers from the Busch Stadium crowd on Monday in his first game back after signing an eight-year contract with the Cubs.
• Ruben Tejada, activated from the disabled list Monday, will be used in a utility role as the Cardinals stick with Aledmys Diaz at shortstop.
• Randal Grichuk will likely be back in the Cardinals' lineup in center. St. Louis is trying to mix and match with the outfielders to keep several guys involved. Grichuk was the odd man out on Monday.

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