August 21, 2011 – By Scott
The St. Louis Cardinals were sitting alone in first place in the NL Central of Major League Baseball back in late July. And back on July 26, they were 1/2 game ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers. A lot has changed since then however.
The Cardinals have not been able to get anything together as of late, losing four of their last five games. The most recent two losses came in their weekend series against the Chicago Cubs as they fell Friday 5-4 and were shutout yesterday 3-0.
Now, the Cardinals sit 8 1/2 games behind the Brewers and must find a way to turn things around. They hope to accomplish this tonight as they face the Cubs in Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN at 8:00 pm ET and look to avoid being swept at Wrigley Field for the first time in five years.
The Cardinals (66-60) won seven of their first eight against the Cubs this season but since have lost their last three. On the other hand, Chicago has been playing great baseball as of late and have won 14 of their last 19 games.
The Cubs (56-70) will look to continue their 15 scoreless inning streak on Sunday as they send Rodrigo Lopez to the mound. He has been just as hot as his team lately and will be seeking his third win in as many starts. For the year, Lopez is 4-3 with a 4.66 ERA and his last loss came back on July 30 against St. Louis which is his only defeat in his last seven starts.
St. Louis will look to right the ship as they send Jake Westbrook to the mound. He also needs to turn things around after falling to 0-3 over his last four starts. Not to mention, Westbrook (9-7, 4.81 ERA) has yet to get a win over the Cubs this season. In two starts against Chicago this year, he has given up 9 runs in 8 1/3 innings of work in his two losses to the Cubs.
In addition, Westbrook must find a way to silence the bat of Aramis Ramirez who blasted a two-run homer in yesterday’s win. Ramirez is riding an eight-game hitting streak where he is hitting .472 with four homeruns and 10 RBIs during this span of games.
MLB sportsbooks feel that the Cardinals will turn things around and have them favored over the Cubs Sunday night. The Cardinals have their moneyline set at -131 while the Cubs have their line set at +121.