“It’s pretty scary, actually,” La Russa said. ”(Those guys) will be will be ready. It’s that underdog mentality. We’ve got to be ready for them.”
The Cubs will not have right-hander Kerry Wood or Sammy Sosa for the three-game set as both were placed on the disabled list this week. Wood has a sore right triceps while Sosa has a sprained ligament in his lower back, suffered when he sneezed last Sunday in San Diego.
That doesn’t St. Louis will be taking the always heated matchup lightly, however.
“It’s an intense rivalry, similar to the Red Sox and the Yankees but on a little lesser level,” Cardinals pitcher Matt Morris said. “It’s intense and it’s fun, even though it’s only May. It’s a great way to spend a weekend.”
The Cubs, who dropped two of three to visiting San Francisco, hope to withstand the rash of injuries. Chicago is still waiting for right-hander Mark Prior to return from an inflamed Achilles’ tendon.
“I told them, ‘Everybody wants to play and now you’re getting a chance to play,” Chicago manager Dusty Baker said. “I try not to put any more pressure on them than is already here. I have everybody stay ready at all times.”