Cubs-Cardinals Preview

The Associated Press

After a rough start to the month, the Chicago Cubs are starting to turn things around.

So is scheduled starter Edwin Jackson, who goes for his third straight victory Wednesday night against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cubs (29-40) opened June with eight losses in 10 games, but have since won four of six behind a starting rotation that has posted a 2.61 ERA. The starters have recorded quality starts in each of the last five.

Jackson (3-8, 5.40 ERA) has also emerged from an early season slump. Through his first 11 starts, Jackson was 1-8 with a 6.29 ERA - the worst in the majors on June 2. The right-hander, however, is finally starting to live up to the big contract Chicago gave him in the offseason, yielding two runs while striking out 15 over 13 innings in winning each of his last two starts. He allowed a run and five hits in six innings in Friday's 6-3 victory over the New York Mets.

"Just trying to get in a rhythm,'' Jackson said.

The Cubs, who pounced on Adam Wainwright for four runs in the top of the first in a 4-2 victory Tuesday, will hope to do the same for Jackson. The last time Jackson pitched, they gave him a 5-0 cushion heading into the bottom of the second.

"You get those early runs, it's definitely a luxury,'' Jackson said. "More times than not it's going to be a close game. You've got to pitch mistake-free, or pretty close to it. But when you come out and get an offensive explosion, it's definitely great.''

Jackson has been at his best away from Wrigley Field this season, recording a 3.73 ERA in six road starts. His 6.69 home ERA is second-worst in the majors.

He was hit hard in his last outing at Busch Stadium, however, getting tagged for nine runs in 1 1-3 innings last September.

Jackson has also been at a loss when it comes to the red-hot Yadier Molina. The Cardinals catcher is 8 for 12 with two home runs in their matchups. Then again, Molina has had success against pretty much everyone this season, batting .449 with 12 doubles and 17 RBIs in his last 21 games to raise his average 38 points to .367. He has always done particularly well against the Cubs, going 9 for 15 in the season series and is hitting .366 against them since 2011.

His batterymate, Jake Westbrook (2-2, 2.05), got off to a sensational start, posting a 1.62 ERA in his first six outings, but struggled in his return from the disabled list Friday. In his first outing since May 8 because of right elbow inflammation, Westbrook surrendered five runs and eight hits in five innings of a 5-4 loss to Miami.

The veteran right-hander failed to strike out a single hitter, and averages 3.89 strikeouts per nine innings, which would be one of the lowest rates in the majors if he had enough innings to qualify.

Westbrook has made up for such strikeout woes by avoiding the long ball. He has yet to surrender a home run in 44 innings - the only pitcher without serving up a homer with at least that many innings pitched.

David DeJesus is the only player on the Cubs roster with a homer against Westbrook. He's got one in 35 at-bats.

Alfonso Soriano is 3 for 30 against Westbrook without a single extra-base hit. It marks the most at-bats Soriano has ever had against a pitcher without recording an extra-base hit.

  • NFL morning after: The decline of Colin Kaepernick

    Colin Kaepernick is the NFL’s most significant player off the field, a player whose simple act of declining to stand during the national anthem has led to wide-ranging discussions across America about race, police brutality, free speech and the role of sport in society. That has been the subject of thousands of commentaries. But it’s not the subject of this commentary. Instead, I want to talk about why I also consider Kaepernick the most fascinating NFL player off the field. And the reason for that is simple: He has rapidly declined from a very good quarterback to a terrible quarterback, at an age when most quarterbacks are still getting better. It was less than four years ago that Kaepernick

    NBC Sports: ProFootballTalk
  • Cubs loving Jonathan Toews outed as White Sox fan by Kris Versteeg

    The Chicago Cubs are seeking their first World Series championship in 108 years. “Cleveland Indians fans”) is pretty much pulling for the Cubs to break several curses to Fly The ‘W’ for the title. According to Kris Versteeg, former Chicago Blackhawks winger and current Calgary Flames player, Toews is a sock in Cubs’ clothing.

    Puck Daddy
  • Joe Gibbs Racing shows why being conservative works in the Chase

    Maybe Talladega was the “lay up” race of the third round? Joe Gibbs Racing’s four cars represent half of the eight drivers advancing to the third round of the Chase. Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth entered Sunday’s race with hefty points advantages over ninth place.

    From The Marbles
  • Jim Harbaugh’s teams keep doing the most ruthless stuff late in blowout wins

    The Michigan coach doesn’t know how to stop competing, and that’s a pretty useful thing. At the height of Michigan’s blowout win against Illinois, Jim Harbaugh did something he’s demonstrably a fan of doing. Harbaugh tried to pour it on.

    SB Nation
  • Chelsea rout Manchester United 4-0 to ruin Jose Mourinho's return (Video)

    Jose Mourinho accomplished something on Sunday that he was incapable of doing last season as Chelsea manager: motivate Chelsea’s players. The return of the Special One to Stamford Bridge – for the first time since being fired last December – was all the inspiration the Blues needed as they rampaged to a 4-0 Premier League victory over Mourinho’s listless Manchester United. It took just 30 seconds for Chelsea to grab the lead.

    FC Yahoo
  • Ryan Miller slams goaltending equipment criticism: 'I’m inside the rules'

    Vancouver Canucks netminder Ryan Miller still has hard feelings over how he has been portrayed in the debate over the size of goaltending equipment. Last season, TSN’s Ray Ferraro pointed out how Miller and Carey Price wear the same size pant even though Price is much heavier than the 168-pound Miller.

    Puck Daddy
  • Disastrous Break, Quadruple Bogey Derails PGA Tour Player's Chance at Win

    (c) 2016 Time Inc. Justin Thomas Defends Title at CIMB Classic Justin Thomas battled back from a four-shot deficit during the final round of the 2016 CIMB Classic at TPC Kuala Lampur to successfully defend his 2015 title.Anirban Lahiri had one of the

  • Wow! A.J. Green makes an unbelievable catch on a Hail Mary

    Hail Marys are always pretty cool, but Cincinnati Bengals receiver A.J. Green made one of the greatest catches you’ll see on one. At the end of the first half, Andy Dalton heaved one to the end zone. It was the same scrum in the end zone we’ve seen for most other Hail Mary throws, with everyone going up at once.

    Shutdown Corner
  • The tragic story of the champion Jewish fencer who fought for Hitler

    She represented Germany at the 1928 Amsterdam Summer Olympics, bringing home a gold medal. Four years later, she competed in the Los Angeles Games. Two hours before her final matches, she learned that her boyfriend had died in a military training accident. She finished fifth. Mayer stayed in California and attended college for international law, hoping to perhaps become a diplomat for her country one day. In 1933, Hitler and the Nazi Party took power in Germany, and quickly set to work stripping away the rights of Jewish citizens — including Mayer, whose father was Jewish. Mayer’s membership in her hometown fencing club was revoked, and it became clear she could not return to Germany. The former

  • Terry Francona and Tyronn Lue are typically awkward acquaintances

    Indians manager Terry Francona (left) and Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue are still on good terms despite a text message mix up. Indians manager Terry Francona and Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue are the leaders behind the sports renaissance in Cleveland. According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, the two men first met years ago in Boston when Francona was managing the Red Sox and Lue was an assistant coach for the Celtics.

    Big League Stew
  • PHOTO: The Moment Clinton Learned the Cubs Are World Series-Bound

    Hillary Clinton's travelling press secretary captured the moment that the Democratic presidential candidate learned that her beloved Chicago Cubs are headed to the World Series. Nick Merrill snapped the photo Saturday night onboard the campaign plane, where Clinton -- who was raised in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge -- was handed a phone and watched highlights from the game. The Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0. It will be the team's first time in the World Series since 1945. "That look when you cap off a day on the trail by watching the @Cubs cement their trip to the #WorldSeries. #FlyTheW," tweeted Merrill. The game had just ended as Clinton was boarding a plane in Philadelphia, where

    ABC News
  • Kevin Harvick confronts Kurt Busch after cooldown lap contact at Talladega (Video)

    Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick had altercations inside and outside of their cars after Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway. Busch’s No. 41 Chevrolet slammed into Harvick’s No. 4 on the cooldown lap of the Hellmann’s 500. Harvick then angrily confronted Busch in the pits, reaching into the cockpit while Busch remained in his car (video above). “He cleaned the side of our car out after the checkered flag,” Harvick told Dave Burns in an NBCSN interview. “I don’t really understand that. All in all, our team did a great job. Didn’t have a scratch on it until then. That’s pretty good for Talladega.” Asked if Busch had an explanation, Harvick answered, “Not really” with

    NASCAR Talk
  • Blocked field goal helps Penn State shock No. 2 Ohio State

    The knock on James Franklin during his time at Penn State has been his teams coming up small in the biggest games. In front of a raucous whiteout crowd Saturday night at Beaver Stadium, the unranked Nittany Lions upset No. 2 Ohio State, 24-21. The Nittany Lions overcame a 21-7 fourth-quarter deficit to complete the comeback.

    Dr. Saturday
  • Three things we learned from Chelsea’s win vs. Man United

    LONDON — Chelsea beat Manchester United 4-0 on Sunday in an unhappy return to Stamford Bridge for Jose Mourinho. First half goals from Pedro and Gary Cahill set them on their way and then Eden Hazard and N'Golo Kante added gloss to the scoreline as United unraveled as Chelsea went into the top four. Here’s what we learned from a humbling afternoon for Mourinho back in west London. NIGHTMARE RETURN FOR MOURINHO “You’re not special anymore!” “You’re getting sacked in the morning!” “Who are ya? Who are ya?” Those were just sum of the chants directed at Manchester United’s manager Jose Mourinho on his first return to Chelsea since he was sacked last December. It was an incredibly uncomfortable afternoon

  • Don’t glare: Heritage Classic start time delayed

    It’s not a familiar situation for the NHL, but it has happened before: a weather delay for a hockey game. The Winnipeg Jets confirmed that the start time for their Heritage Classic game against the Edmonton Oilers has been delayed. The glare of the sun appears to be too much. At the moment, it is not yet known how severe the delay will be. Puck drop was originally scheduled for just after 3 p.m. ET. That’s a bummer, but at least it inspired a joke that would probably make Ilya Bryzgalov smile: Warm-ups were moved to 4 p.m. ET. PHT will keep you posted if there are any other changes.

  • Report: Yi Jianlian has asked for release, will be waived by Lakers

    On paper, Chinese center Yi Jianlian made a lot of sense for the Lakers, especially in Luke Walton’s system — he was the only floor spacing big on the roster. Watching Yi at the Olympics, it was easy to imagine it working out for him in the NBA this time around. In practice, he was struggling to find a consistent role with the team. He had averaged less than 11 minutes a game in the preseason, shooting 35 percent overall and 16.7 percent from three. His defense wasn’t good, and he remains a player who doesn’t exactly have a high motor. With Julius Randle, Larry Nance, Timofey Mozgov, and Tarik Black, Yi wasn’t finding a consistent niche. So he has asked out of his contract and the Lakers are

  • Cubs win historic pennant

    Aroldis Chapman induces a double play to secure the Cubs' first National League pennant since 1945
  • Mets plan to slow-play market for Yoenis Cespedes

    The Mets want to bring back Yoenis Cespedes, "but they probably wouldn't chase him if he got an enormous long-term deal elsewhere," given his age and the streaky nature of his production, according to weekend report from's Buster Olney. According to multiple reports, Cespedes is expected to opt out of his three-year contract and become a free agent. There is mutual interest in having him return to the Mets. However, "There is no urgency," a source told Olney, who says the Mets are open to effectively updating his current deal with another opt-out clause. Cespedes has until three days after the end of the World Series to decide whether to opt out of his current contract with the Mets,'s

  • Randy Moss, Tedy Bruschi highly critical of Roger Goodell's handling of Josh Brown case

    Two more former NFL players have weighed in on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and his mishandling of the situation with New York Giants kicker Josh Brown. Randy Moss, during a segment on ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown” discussing Brown and the league continuing to bungle domestic violence cases, put things squarely on Goodell’s shoulders.

    Shutdown Corner
  • Kyle Hendricks' masterful start sends Cubs to World Series

    When it comes to pitchers who have won a NLCS game to send the Chicago Cubs to the World Series, the list consists of exactly one member: Kyle Hendricks. While many expected his counterpart Clayton Kershaw to turn in the night’s defining start, the 26-year-old righthander was brilliant instead. Hendricks threw 7 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball in the Cubs’ 5-0 win in Saturday’s Game 6, allowing only two hits while striking out six and walking none.

    Big League Stew
  • How will DeAndre Hopkins perform in Denver?

    Yahoo Sports' Fantasy Football Live crew looks ahead to Monday night's meeting between the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos.

    Yahoo Sports Videos
  • Auburn runs for 543 yards in 56-3 rout of Arkansas

    There is no need to worry about Auburn’s offense. The No. 21 Tigers ran for 543 yards in a 56-3 win over No. 17 Arkansas on Saturday. It’s the most rushing yards ever in an SEC game for the Tigers and the second-straight week a team from Alabama has run for over 400 on a conference opponent.

    Dr. Saturday
  • SCOOPHD: Baker Mayfield Texas Tech Postgame ...

    Baker Mayfield went 27-for-36 passing for a career-high 545 yards and a school-record seven touchdowns. [MEDIA] * The 545 passing yards were the...
  • Reports: Celtics waive R.J. Hunter, keep James Young

    The Celtics’ final regular-season roster spot came down to a couple recent first-round picks who had guaranteed salaries on their rookie-scale deals: James Young (No. 17 pick in 2014) R.J. Hunter (No. 28 pick in 2015) Young won. Adrian Wojnarowski

    NBC Sports
  • Duncan-less Spurs eager for another run at NBA postseason

    SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The San Antonio Spurs responded to their most successful regular season in franchise history with the greatest turnover in Gregg Popovich’s two decades with the team. Tim Duncan’s retirement played a large role in the reconstruction, but so did losing in six games to Oklahoma City in the Western Conference semifinals. Duncan is gone along with veterans Boris Diaw, Matt Bonner and late-season additions Andre Miller and Kevin Martin. While San Antonio added another veteran in Pau Gasol, they also brought in a lot of youth and athleticism as they prepared for life without Duncan, the power forward who led the franchise to five NBA titles in 19 seasons. “Right now we don’t know