Jake Arrieta will start for the Cubs in the series finale against the Cardinals on Wednesday afternoon at Wrigley Field, looking to build off his latest strong outing and foil St. Louis' bid for a three-game sweep.
Arrieta threw six scoreless innings Friday to pick up the win in the Cubs' 6-0 victory against the Pirates. The reigning National League Cy Young winner dropped his ERA to a minuscule 1.74 in that showing, which trails only Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (1.57).
Arrieta hasn't been as sharp in his past couple of starts against the Cardinals. He allowed a season-high four runs in five innings against St Louis on May 25 at Busch Stadium, after allowing four runs in 5 2/3 innings against the Cardinals in Game 3 of a 2015 NL Division Series.
"Whenever we're looking at any particular pitcher, I think we're always good at giving credit where credit is due, but also not giving too much credit," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "We've been able to face up against the best of the best, and it doesn't really matter. If we're doing what we need to do, it doesn't matter who's pitching against us. We're just going to figure out how to get it done."
Right-hander Michael Wacha will start for St. Louis, looking to end a career-high string of seven losses, which is the longest active losing streak in the Majors.
The good news for Wacha is that he allowed just one run over 7 2/3 innings in his last start, taking the loss in the Cardinals' 1-0 defeat against the Rangers. The bad news is that his career numbers against the Cubs aren't pretty. Wacha is 3-4 with a 5.90 ERA in nine career starts against Chicago, including 0-2 with a 5.50 ERA in four appearances at Wrigley Field (three starts).
After winning the first two games in this series, the Cardinals moved to 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Cubs and evened the season series at 4-4.
Three things to know about this game
• Matt Adams, who didn't start either of the first two games for the Cardinals, is hitting .529 against the Cubs this season (9-for-17), including two home runs, four doubles and four RBIs.
• Dating to June 21, 2015, Arrieta has gone 27-2 with a 1.20 ERA, including 248 strikeouts to just 58 walks in 240 innings. Opponents hit just .159 against him in that span.
• Miguel Montero will get back behind the plate for the Cubs, who started rookie catcher Willson Contreras in the first two games of the series.