Jordan Montgomery's future with the St. Louis Cardinals is uncertain, but he's arguably the team's top starting pitcher at the moment
Since May 28, Montgomery (6-7, 3.14 ERA) is 4-1 with a 1.68 ERA over nine starts and has not allowed more than one earned run in any of his past five. The left-hander yielded one run on six hits in six innings in a no-decision against the Miami Marlins on Tuesday.
"I was happy with it," said Montgomery, the Cardinals' leader with 11 quality starts
"Winning solves anything."
St. Louis won 7-2 in Thursday's series opener to extend its winning streak to a season-high six games. However, the Cardinals have dropped the past two versus Chicago after failing to hold leads on four different occasions in Saturday's 8-6 defeat
Sitting 11 games under .500, St. Louis could be a seller by the Aug. 1 trade deadline, and a veteran like Montgomery might bring a nice return.
Montgomery allowed two runs over 28 2/3 innings while winning his first four career starts against the Cubs, split between the New York Yankees and St. Louis. However, he allowed six runs, seven hits and three walks during the Cardinals' 10-4 loss at Wrigley Field on May 10
Yan Gomes and Patrick Wisdom each homered off Montgomery in that contest. Gomes is 6-for-14 versus Montgomery, while teammate Cody Bellinger is 2-for-5 against him.
Bellinger had four RBIs on Saturday, highlighted by a go-ahead, two-run single in the sixth inning. Batting .440 with 19 RBIs in his past 24 games, Bellinger could also be a quality trade option for the Cubs, who are four games under .500 and third in National League Central
However, Chicago has won four of its past five games and is aiming for its first three-game winning streak since taking four straight from June 19-24. Also, the Cubs are getting healthier with All-Star shortstop Dansby Swanson back in the lineup
After injuring his heel at Milwaukee on July 5, Swanson returned Saturday with two hits and an RBI. He's 11-for-24 with 10 RBIs against the Cardinals this season
"I love going out there every day and being able to compete with the guys on the team and do things to win," Swanson said.
Scheduled Chicago starter Jameson Taillon (3-6, 6.05) eyes a third consecutive solid start. The right-hander yielded a single hit over eight innings of a 3-0 win over the Yankees on July 7, then gave up three runs in the first two innings before settling down to complete 5 2/3 frames of Tuesday's 17-3 rout of Washington.
Taillon, however, allowed four runs, five hits and two walks over just 2 2/3 innings of a 6-4 home loss to St. Louis on May 9. Lars Nootbaar and Nolan Gorman homered off Taillon in that contest and also hit home runs Saturday.
Nootbaar had three hits Saturday, while Gorman is 11-for-26 with three homers and 10 RBIs in his past seven games.
Cardinals catcher and ex-Cub Willson Contreras is batting .436 with nine RBIs in July. He might not be available for the series finale, however, after exiting Saturday's game with hip tightness
--Field Level Media