After dropping two out of three to the third place Brewers, the Cubs travel to St. Louis to take on the Cardinals. The Cubs are looking to redeem themselves this weekend after ending the last part of April with a rough patch.
Even with the losses of Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen, the Cards' lineup still packs a punch.
The biggest name is obviously Albert Pujols, who despite playing through an injury is hitting a robust .365 heading into tonight's game. The 28-year old has done nothing but hit since he got to the major leagues. He has a career average of .322 and already has 287 career home runs.
The recently revived pitcher-turned-outfielder Rick Ankiel is making a splash again this season despite the rumors circulating about steroid use. He's hitting .290 this season with five home runs, tied with Pujols.
The Cardinals also possess the youngest of the three Molina brothers. While any Anaheim Angels fan will tell you what you need to know about Bengie, Bengie and Jose (a former Cub traded to Anaheim in 2001 now with the Yankees) are no match for younger brother Yadier. Yadier is hitting a respectable .265 out of the catcher's position, and Cubs fans remember his arm.
The Cubs counter Albert Pujols with their own extremely talented first baseman, Derrek Lee. Lee is hitting .360 this season with eight homers already which tied a club record for the month of April. Lee, in his second year removed from a horrific wrist injury, looks like the guy who was in the running for the triple crown three years ago.
Power-hitting outfielders, you say? Kosuke Fukudome doesn't hit for as much power as Ankiel or Sammy Sosa used to, but he does possess other qualities.
Fukudome is hitting .353 with only one home run, but everything else speaks for itself. He has an OBP of .455 and a slugging percentage of .500. He has also taken 19 walks this season. Can anyone say rookie of the year?
The Cubs also possess a new face behind the dish. Geovanny Soto is making his presence known. Soto is hitting .330 with five home runs.
Soto did have a rough patch on the last road trip striking out eight straight times, but he seems to have come out of it. He has worked on his footwork and quick throws to second base.
As usual, the pitching staffs will likely decide the outcome of this series. In the rubber game, the Cubs are slated to face former reliever Todd Wellemeyer, where the Cardinals will face former starter and reliever Jason Marquis. Both will try to prove that what the other team let go not so long ago was worth more.
This could be a preview of the two division-leaders down the stretch and could set the stage for some great match-ups late in the season. St. Louis comes to town for the last time Sept. 19-21.
Hold on to your hats Cubs and Cardinals fans, because it will be a wild summer.