Called upon in emergency relief his last time out, Jake Westbrook had one of the worst games his career. He'll have to try to bounce back on the road, where he's also struggled.
But Westbrook and the St. Louis Cardinals at least have the fortune of facing a Chicago Cubs team in the throes of unprecedented offensive struggles at Wrigley Field on Friday.
Westbrook (7-7, 4.11 ERA) has lost three straight appearances, posting an 11.05 ERA while walking 10 over 14 2-3 innings. He matched a career worst by allowing nine runs as well as 13 hits over 4 2-3 innings of relief in a 13-4 loss to the Dodgers last Wednesday. Westbrook was slated to start the following day but was needed out of the bullpen after starter Shelby Miller was hit by a line drive in the game's first at-bat.
It was the right-hander's first relief appearance in more than nine years.
"You want to come in and do what you can and help the team out," said Westbrook, who is 6-3 in 11 starts versus Chicago with a 3.74 ERA, including a 1-1 mark in three games this year. "Three days' rest is sufficient for most people. The bottom line is I didn't do that."
Westbrook owns a 7.71 ERA while dropping his last four road starts and is 2-6 away from home with a 5.14 ERA, his highest since 2006. He gave up three runs over seven innings in a 3-0 loss at Wrigley Field on July 11.
The bullpen could be stretched thin behind Westbrook after St. Louis (69-51) took two of three from Pittsburgh, logging 16 2-3 innings.
Matt Holliday sealed Thursday's 6-5 victory, driving in the go-ahead run with a 12th-inning single and bringing the Cardinals within two games of the Pirates. He also doubled earlier in the game to extend his hitting streak to 12 games and is batting .433 with 14 RBIs over his last 18 contests.
"We did a good job of bouncing back," said Holliday, who is 14 for 34 with three homers versus Chicago this season. "Winning this game could be very important for us."
The Cubs (52-68) have lost four straight and 11 of 12 at home, where their 23 home wins are baseball's second-fewest. They've also been shut out four times in their last five contests at Wrigley Field and recorded a season-low two hits in a 5-0 loss to Cincinnati on Wednesday.
Chicago is hitting .218 with runners in scoring position during its 1-11 home stretch. Anthony Rizzo is 2 for 9 with men in scoring position in those games and 1 for 15 overall in his last four contests.
"A lot of guys are getting opportunities to step up and take advantage of it," said Rizzo, who is 5 for 8 with two doubles off Westbrook this year. "That's something not only myself wants to do, but other guys on this team, especially guys that haven't been here all year."
The Cubs will call up Jake Arrieta (1-2, 6.07 ERA) for his second start with the team since being acquired from Baltimore on July 2. He gave up a solo homer and one other hit over six innings in a 3-2 loss to Milwaukee on July 30.
The Cardinals lost two of three in St. Louis last weekend, though the teams have split six meetings in Chicago this year.
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|August 15, 2013||Tony Cruz||15-Day DL||Stress fracture, left forearm|
|August 11, 2013||Carlos Beltran||Day-to-Day||Right foot contusion|
|August 07, 2013||Shelby Miller||Day-to-Day||Right elbow contusion|
|July 31, 2013||Shane Robinson||15-Day DL||Strained right shoulder|
|July 31, 2013||Yadier Molina||15-Day DL||Sprained right knee|
|July 31, 2013||Yadier Molina||15-Day DL||Sprained right knee|
|August 08, 2013||Matt Guerrier||60-Day DL||Right elbow soreness|
|August 08, 2013||Thomas Neal||60-Day DL||Dislocated right shoulder|
|August 07, 2013||Thomas Neal||Day-to-Day||Dislocated right shoulder|
|August 07, 2013||Dioner Navarro||Day-to-Day||Right ankle contusion|
|August 03, 2013||Luis Valbuena||15-Day DL||Right oblique strain|
|July 15, 2013||Brian Bogusevic||15-Day DL||Left hamstring strain|
CHICAGO (AP) -- Jake Arrieta threw seven shutout innings and Nate Schierholtz drove in three runs to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 7-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday.
Arrieta (1-0) allowed two hits and struck out seven for his first win with the Cubs.
The hard-throwing right-hander was acquired from the Baltimore Orioles in a July 2 trade.
Before Friday, his only other day on the Cubs' roster was as the 26th man for a doubleheader against Milwaukee on July 30.
The Cubs snapped a four-game losing streak with the win and are 7-7 this season against the Cardinals. St. Louis has dropped six of nine overall.
The Cubs had been shut out in four of their past five home games - a streak dating back to Aug. 3.
Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook (7-8) walked the first three batters he faced in the bottom of the first inning.
Schierholtz, the cleanup hitter, hit a two-run single to center to put the Cubs.
After Welington Castillo grounded into a double play, Donnie Murphy followed with a run-scoring single to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead.
Arrieta sailed through the Cardinals lineup. After allowing a single to Carlos Beltran in the second, he got Kolten Wong to ground into a double play in his major league debut.
Those two outs started a streak of 13 straight outs (including five strikeouts) until he walked Westbrook with one in the sixth.
The next batter, Matt Carpenter , also walked to give the Cardinals their first threat of the game, but Jon Jay grounded into a fielder's choice and Matt Holiday struck out looking to end the inning.
The Cubs added a run in the fifth on Schierholtz's sacrifice fly and then scored two more in the sixth on a run-scoring double by Darwin Barney and a safety squeeze bunt by Arrieta.
The final run in the seventh scored on a wild pitch.
NOTES: With the addition of prospect Kolten Wong (who went 0-for-3 in his debut) to the Cardinals' roster and lineup on Friday, former World Series MVP David Freese was relegated to the bench with leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter (who had been playing second) moving to third base. "I would say it's a day-by-day situation," general manager John Mozeliak said. "I'm not saying (Wong) has to play every day - there are gonna be times when we want to get David back in the lineup - so I imagine there's gonna be some split playing opportunities." ... Cubs RHP Matt Guerrier was scheduled to have surgery on his throwing arm on Friday. The surgery, performed by Dr. Timothy Kremchek, is expected to sideline Guerrier six to eight months. ... The Cards' Joe Kelly (3-3) faces Travis Wood (7-9) in the second game of the series on Saturday.