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Chicago at St. Louis

Venue: Busch Stadium
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In what's likely his final appearance in a St. Louis uniform, Jake Westbrook will try to help the Cardinals grab home-field advantage in the NL playoffs.

The injury-plagued right-hander is expected to pitch a couple of innings before giving way to Joe Kelly in Sunday's regular-season finale against the Chicago Cubs.

With Atlanta losing to Philadelphia on Saturday, St. Louis (96-65) needs a win or another Braves loss Sunday to finish with the NL's best record and have an opportunity to face a wild-card team in the division series. Atlanta holds the tiebreaker after going 4-3 in this season's series.

"Keep building the momentum," first baseman Matt Adams told the team's website. "We're playing great baseball right now, so if we keep that going we're going to have a lot of confidence going into (the postseason)."

The Cardinals are giving Westbrook (7-8, 4.67 ERA) a chance to finish a difficult year on a positive note. The team is not expected to pick up his $9.5 million mutual option for 2014 and he's likely not going to be included on the playoff roster.

Westbrook was 2-1 with a 1.62 ERA in his first six starts this season before the first of his two stints on the disabled list. He was 5-7 with a 5.97 ERA over his next 13 appearances and headed to the DL for a lower back strain Aug. 23.

Westbrook was sent to the bullpen after his return Sept. 6 and his relief appearance against Pittsburgh that same day remains his only one this month.

"He's done a lot for a lot of people around here," manager Mike Matheny told the team's website. "We're real proud with how Jake has been able to help our club in many different ways and decided to get him out there to start."

Westbrook will need a better start against Chicago (66-95) to give the Cardinals some help. He gave up three runs in the opening frame Aug. 16 and seven over 6 2-3 innings in a 7-0 loss at Wrigley Field.

Kelly, meanwhile, pitched four-hit ball over six innings in his most recent matchup, a 4-0 win Aug. 17.

Like Westbrook, Jeff Samardzija (8-12, 4.33) will try to end a lackluster season in positive fashion. The Cubs' opening day starter has been inconsistent for much of this campaign but had a pair of solid efforts in his past two games.

Neither of those have resulted in wins, though. He gave up one run over six innings in a 2-1 loss to Pittsburgh on Monday.

While Samardzija will likely return next season barring a trade, the fate of manager Dale Sveum is unknown. Team president Theo Epstein is expected to decide whether Sveum, 127-196 in two seasons, will return Monday.

"It's pretty standard at this time of year to take your time to look back at the season and make decisions on what can put the organization in the best position going forward," Epstein said. "This is part of the process. At the same time, we owe it to everyone involved to get it done quickly and move forward. We'll finish up the process on Monday."

Samardzija will try to spoil the Cardinals' hopes with another strong start against them. The right-hander is 1-0 with a 1.71 ERA in his last three matchups and gave up two runs over 8 1-3 innings in a 4-2 win June 18.

Yadier Molina (9 for 17) and Carlos Beltran (5 for 12) have had success against Samardzija but it's unknown if they will start this game or rest.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Weather
weather image  Sprinkles early. Morning clouds. Mild.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
73°F55°F7mph/N45%24%
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Chi Cubs1st NL Central10358.640-7-3 W 1
St. Louis2nd NL Central8676.53117 ½ 6-4 W 4
 
 

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D. BeelerElbow
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A. CrowElbow
J. HammelElbow
Z. RosscupShoulder
C. VillanuevaAnkle
M. ZagunisFoot
St. Louis
PlayerInjury
T. CooneyShoulder
M. GonzalesElbow
M. HarrisElbow
L. LynnElbow
T. LyonsKnee
S. ManessElbow
N. PlummerWrist
J. WaldenShoulder
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Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
Apr 2STL 8:30 PM EDT  
Apr 4STL 8:15 PM EDT  
Apr 5STL 1:45 PM EDT  
May 12STL 8:15 PM EDT  
May 13STL 4:05 PM EDT  
May 14STL 2:15 PM EDT  
Jun 2CHC 2:20 PM EDT  
Jun 3CHC 2:20 PM EDT  
Jun 4CHC 7:38 PM EDT  
Jul 21CHC 2:20 PM EDT  
Jul 22CHC 4:05 PM EDT  
Jul 23CHC 8:08 PM EDT  
Sep 15CHC 2:20 PM EDT  
Sep 16CHC 1:05 PM EDT  
Sep 17CHC   
Sep 25STL 8:15 PM EDT  
Sep 26STL 8:15 PM EDT  
Sep 27STL 8:15 PM EDT  
Sep 28STL 7:15 PM EDT