The Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals will meet for the second time during the 2012 MLB season when they play at Wrigley Field from April 23 through April 25. The Cubs and Cardinals had previously met in St. Louis for a three-game series from April 13 through April 15. The Cardinals won two of those games.
Ryan Dempster's injury should have little-to-no effect on this series as he wouldn't have been scheduled to pitch. The only problem that I could see is if the bullpen is fatigued from a short outing from Randy Wells when he pitches against the Cincinnati Reds on April 22. The Cubs will be relying on Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija and Chris Volstad to rebound from a 4-11 start. The San Diego Padres (4-12) and Kansas City Royals (3-11) are the only teams with worse records.
All times are central time zone. The probable pitchers are updated as of April 22 on Cubs.mlb.com. The Cubs are represented by the pitchers in italics.
April 23, 7:05 p.m.: Matt Garza (1-1, 3.66 ERA) vs. Jaime Garcia (2-0, 3.06 ERA)
Matt Garza will make his first start of the season against the Cardinals. After two solid outings, Garza struggled against the Miami Marlins as he surrendered six earned runs on seven hits and three walks in five innings.
Garza has a career record of 2-1 with a 5.32 ERA against the Cardinals. Jon Jay has also been a thorn in his side as he's 4-for-6 with a double and 1.500 on-base-plus-slugging percentage (OPS). David Freese is the only current Cardinals hitter who has a home run against him.
April 24, 7:05 p.m. Jeff Samardzija (2-1, 5.71 ERA) vs. Adam Wainwright (0-3, 9.88 ERA)
Jeff Samardzija has endured some growing pains in his transition from middle relief to the starting rotation. After coming within one out of a complete game in his first start against the Washington Nationals, Samardzija has surrendered 10 earned runs in his last 4.2 innings pitched. Samardzija earned the win in an April 13 meeting against the Cardinals despite surrendering five earned runs in the fifth inning.
Samardzija hasn't enjoyed much success against the Cardinals. Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina and Jay are all hitting .375 or better in at least eight at-bats against Samardzija. Carlos Beltran is 3-for-3 with a walk. Matt Carpenter is 2-for-3 with a triple. Overall, Samardzija has surrendered a .369 average with a .461 on-base percentage (OBP) against current Cardinals hitters.
April 25, 1:20 p.m.: Chris Volstad (0-2, 6.19 ERA) vs. Lance Lynn (3-0, 1.42 ERA)
Chris Volstad hasn't won a game since July 10, 2011. Volstad did record a quality start against the Cardinals when these teams met on April 14. He surrendered three earned runs through six innings.
Volstad doesn't have the prettiest career numbers against the Cardinals. Lance Berkman (DL), Rafael Furcal, Holliday, Beltran and Molina are all hitting .300-or-better against him in at least nine at-bats. Despite the strong averages, current Cardinals hitters have a .327 OBP against Volstad.
Joshua Huffman grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula as a Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs enthusiast. He immediately gained an admiration for Cubs fans after watching numerous games on WGN during the mid-90s. His favorite Cubs moment was Kerry Wood's(notes) 1-hitter, 20K extravaganza that was only denied of a no-hitter by Kevin Orie's defensive blunder. As a Packers and Cubs fan, he suffered through Steve Bartman and "4th & 26" in a span of three months. He can be found on Twitter HERE.
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