The Chicago Cubs need a win against their arch-rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals, in a Wednesday Major League Baseball game that will stream live as the Cubs who started the season on what looked to be a historic streak of dominance have suddenly crashed to Earth, losing three straight games and eight of their last 12 to see what had been a nine-game lead atop the National League Central Division cut to five games over the course of a week.
But Cubs Manager Joe Maddon remains unworried by the Cubs' current skid.
"If we were playing badly, that would be one thing, but I don't think we're playing badly," Joe Maddon said on Monday. "We're playing good baseball. We've actually swung the bats well but had some bad luck."
On Monday, the Cubs opened a three-game series in St.Louis after dropping two of three to the NL West leading Giants in San Francisco. The Cubs jumped out to a 3-1 lead, only to lose 4-3 on the first career walk-off home run by 24-year-old Cardinals centerfielder Randal Grichuk.
On Tuesday, the Cubs send veteran 33-year-old righty Jason Hammel to the mound, coming off his first loss of the season last Thursday when he gave up a pair of home runs and four runs altogether in five innings against the Milwaukee Brewers in Milwaukee. Hammel had surrendered just one home run over his first seven starts.
"I felt pretty good," Hammel said. "Home runs on hanging sliders. Hanging sliders leave the yard. That's about it."
The Cubs send their unbeaten ace Jake Arrieta to the mound in the season finale Wednesday afternoon, so a solid performance from Hammel could end up in a series victory for the Cubs — a series win they sorely need.
Watch highlights of the Cardinals 4-3 walkoff victory over the Cubs on Monday night, in the video below.
To find out how to watch a live stream of the Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals Major League Baseball game at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri, on Wednesday, May 24, see the streaming links in the final paragraph of this article. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 4:10 p.m. Pacific.
The Cardinals who sit in third place, six games behind the Cubs in the NL Central, will look for their third win in their last five behind 24-year-old, fourth-year starter Michael Wacha. The righty is coming off of his best season, posting a 17-7 record with a 3.38 ERA in 2015.
But Wacha is off to a halting start in 2016, with a 2-4 record and mediocre 4.03 ERA in his first nine games. In his last outing, on May 19, Wacha was shelled by the visiting Colorado Rockies, giving up six runs on eight hits and a walk in just four innings pitched.
MORE BASEBALL COVERAGE FROM THE INQUISITR:Home Run Against St. Louis Cardinals Special For Albert Pujols, For 30 ReasonsChicago Cubs: 5 Potential 2016 MLB Trade Deadline TargetsSan Francisco Giants Unusual Batting Order Is A Hit With Fans And CoachesSan Francisco Giants: Unprecedented Upset Brings Replay Reviews To A New LevelChicago Cubs Rumors: Ryan Braun Could Be Acquired Before Trade DeadlineSan Francisco Giants Unexpected Pinch Hitting Strategy Throws Fans For A Loop
To watch a live stream of the Tuesday night Major League Baseball Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals nationally televised game at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri, go to WatchESPN at this link, or download the WatchESPN app to watch the game on mobile devices. Fans who do not have credentials to log in and watch WatchESPN can view the game via the Sling TV internet TV package at this link. The package, which includes a variety of channels, including ESPN, costs $20 per month. But Sling TV offers a seven-day free trial, so subscribers can choose whether or not to keep the service after watching the Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals game live online. A Spanish-language broadcast is also available via the WatchESPN link, above.
[Featured Photo By Scott Kane / Getty Images] [Statistics via Baseball-Reference.com]