|11:20 AM PT12:20 PM MT1:20 PM CT2:20 PM ET14:20 ET18:20 GMT2:20 11:20 AM MST1:20 PM EST1:50 PM VEN22:20 UAE12:20 PM CT, September 24, 2021
Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois Attendance: 29,030
Cards bring 12-game win streak into DH vs. Cubs
The streaking St. Louis Cardinals will get key hurler Jack Flaherty back in the rotation as they resume their National League wild-card quest with a road doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs on Friday.
The Cardinals (83-69) have won 12 consecutive games while the Cubs (67-85) have lost nine of their past 11 games.
"Our defense has been really solid and our baserunning has been at the top of the league well," said Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. "And then when you do start getting some hits, when you start getting some momentum, when you get on roll, then it shows more up more."
After rallying from a five-run deficit for an 8-5 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday afternoon, the Cardinals held the second wild-card slot by 4 1/2 games over the Philadelphia Phillies (79-74).
The Cardinals will start Flaherty (9-2, 3.08 ERA) in the second game of the twin bill at Wrigley Field. J.A. Happ (9-8, 6.02) will start the first game for St. Louis.
Flaherty last pitched on Aug. 24 before he was shut down due to shoulder soreness.
"We'll take what we can get, and right now we'll get a start in some capacity Friday," Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. "Real positive to see a guy like that back on the mound."
Earlier this season, Flaherty missed 2 1/2 months with a strained oblique muscle, so the Cardinals will handle his latest comeback with care.
"My hope is to go out and give them what I've got on Friday," Flaherty said. "Throw and make pitches until Shildty tells me I'm done, till he says, 'That's it.'"
Flaherty will make his first start against the Cubs this season. The right-hander is 3-3 with a 3.15 ERA in 12 career outings against them, including 11 starts.
Happ struggled in his most recent outing, allowing three runs on four hits and a walk in four innings against the San Diego Padres on Sunday. He is 4-2 with a 4.33 ERA in nine starts since coming from the Minnesota Twins in a July 30 trade.
This will be his first start against the Cubs since 2017. The left-hander is 1-5 with a 6.00 ERA in seven career starts against them.
The Cubs will start Justin Steele (3-3, 4.20) and Zach Davies (6-11, 5.49).
Steele is 0-1 with a 5.79 ERA in his past three starts. The left-hander will be making his first career appearance against the Cardinals.
With the Cubs in rebuilding mode, they are looking at young pitchers who could bid for rotation slots in 2022. Steele, Adbert Alzolay and Keegan Thompson are trying to make their case.
"Maybe one of those three guys can fit in there somewhere," Cubs manager David Ross said. "The experience they've gained this year, and having an offseason to work on things, and coming in and making an impression will be a nice thing we'll have going into next year's spring training."
Davies has hit a rough patch in September, allowing 15 runs on 18 hits and nine walks in just 10 1/3 innings.
However, the right-hander is 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA three starts against the Cardinals this season and 3-4 with a 3.93 ERA in 13 career starts against them.
--Field Level Media
Updated September 24, 2021