MLB Baseball

8
Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
Chi Cubs1 0 2 0 3 0 0 2 0 8161
St. Louis0 0 0 0 3 0 2 1 0 660
6
  W: S. Cishek (4-6)   L: A. Wainwright (14-10)   S: B. Kintzler (1)
4:15 PM PT5:15 PM MT6:15 PM CT7:15 PM ET19:15 ET23:15 GMT7:15 4:15 PM MST6:15 PM EST6:45 PM VEN3:15 UAE (+1)6:15 PM CT, September 28, 2019
Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri  Attendance: 46,971

Cardinals aim for NL Central title against injured Cubs

The St. Louis Cardinals will continue their division title quest when they host the injury-depleted Chicago Cubs Saturday night.

The Cardinals (90-70) lead the National League Central by one game over the Milwaukee Brewers (89-71). Both teams lost Friday night, so the Cardinals' magic number to win the division fell to two with two games to play.

The division winner will play the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS and the second-place team will play the Washington Nationals in the NL wild-card game.

The Cardinals have lost three consecutive games and their relievers have allowed 15 runs (13 earned) in their last two games.

They hope to regain some momentum behind starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (14-9, 3.98 ERA), who is 5-0 with a 1.69 ERA this month.

Wainwright is 1-2 with a 3.91 ERA in four starts against the Cubs this season and 16-12 with a 4.01 ERA in 49 career appearances against them, including 40 starts.

He is 9-3 with a 2.08 ERA in 15 starts overall at Busch Stadium this season.

"We're in a good spot; we're in the driver's seat," Wainwright said. "We just have to win."

With Chicago (82-78) just playing out the string, Cubs manager Joe Maddon is deploying lots of bench players and prospects during the season's final weekend.

Corner infielders Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant are unlikely to play while recovering from sprained ankles. Shortstop Javier Baez (hairline thumb fracture) has been limited to pinch-running duties.

Outfielder Nicholas Castellanos bowed out of Friday's lineup due to a tight groin muscle and outfielder Albert Almora Jr. left the game in the sixth inning with a leg injury.

"I'm not going to play hurt people," Maddon said.

He also shut down starting pitchers Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks for this series. But he is giving left-hander Cole Hamels (7-7, 3.92) the Saturday start to help him establish value in free agency after his injury-plagued campaign.

Hamels is 1-1 against the Cardinals this season, but he has not allowed an earned run against them in 15 innings. He is 5-6 with a 2.29 ERA in 16 career starts against the Cardinals.

After recovering from an oblique strain, Hamels developed a sore shoulder and missed his previous start.

"I don't want to put that in the back of teams' heads of how I finished," he told MLB.com. "I think I'm capable of what I was able to do in the first half. That's who I am. And I can still get those good results for, hopefully, it would be this team, if they consider that. But, also, for other teams to know that I'm not the type of player that's on the regression."

In his first 17 starts this season, Hamels went 6-3 with a 2.98 ERA, 97 strikeouts, 85 hits allowed and 35 walks in 99 2/3 innings.

But Hamels went 1-4 with a 6.39 ERA during his last nine starts. He allowed 54 hits (including eight homers) and 21 walks in 38 innings during that downturn.

--Field Level Media

Updated September 28, 2019

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