Jeff Samardzija, who is coming off is best start of the season, tries to get the Cubs back on the winning track this afternoon when they resume a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Samardzija spun eight scoreless innings of one-hit ball, earning the win in the Cubs' 2-0 victory at Pittsburgh on Monday. He is 3-2 with a 5.29 ERA in 15 career games (4 starts) against the Cardinals.
Cardinals right-hander Joe Kelly enters today's start at Wrigley Field on a five-game winless stretch. Kelly, who is 0-3 since a June 22 victory at Kansas City, has thrown six innings in each of his last six appearances, but has received little run support. He's allowed two earned runs or less in each of his last five appearances, including a start on Monday against the Dodgers when Kelly was tagged for a 5-3 loss.
The Cardinals will try to equal a season-high with their fifth straight win this afternoon.
St. Louis crushed five home runs off starter Travis Wood, accomplishing the feat in consecutive innings in a 9-6 victory Friday afternoon.
Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina, Lance Berkman, Matt Carpenter and Allen Craig all homered for the Cardinals.
"I still stand by the fact that this is not a home run-hitting team because we don't have a bunch of guys that go up there looking to hit the home run," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "We have some well-rounded hitters that have power and whenever you can mix five home runs into five innings, that's pretty impressive."
Lance Lynn (13-4) improved to 4-0 in his career against the Cubs, although he struggled to get there. Chicago, which scored just two runs in 21 1/3 innings against Lynn coming into Friday's game, tagged the right-hander for six runs on eight hits in five innings.
"It was hit or miss," Lynn said. "Seems like whenever there was runners on they got the hit, and before I was able to make a pitch to get out of it, today I wasn't."
Wood (4-6) had another rough start, lasting only five innings and allowing eight runs on seven hits, including the five blasts. In his last three starts, Wood has allowed 22 earned runs.
"He does have to keep the ball down," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "You're going to get away with that a little bit more on some other teams and stuff like that. But this team, there's a reason why those left-handed numbers are what they are with this team. You make a mistake and they don't miss it."
"It's nice that it is, after these past three, because I can look back and be like, 'I know I can still do this,'" Wood said. "The confidence is still there."
Starlin Castro picked up three hits and Anthony Rizzo hit his sixth home run as the Cubs lost their fifth straight game against St. Louis.
The Cardinals outscored the Cubs 23-1 in sweeping last weekend's three-game series and are 8-4 against Chicago this season.