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MLB: Chicago White Sox at Chicago CubsJun 4, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs pitcher Shota Imanaga (18) grimaces after giving up an infield single against the Chicago White Sox during the second inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Cubs’ offense has started to go from bad to worse.

After being shut out for the sixth time this season, Chicago will try to get its lineup going on Saturday afternoon when it continues a three-game set with the visiting St. Louis Cardinals.

St. Louis beat the Cubs 3-0 in the opener on Friday, with Chicago mustering just three singles. The Cubs had averaged three runs in their previous seven games before their latest setback dropped that figure to 2.6.

Left-hander Justin Steele isn’t getting overly concerned, and he’s hoping that Chicago’s current struggles end up helping the team later in the season.

“All of this is going to help us in the long run,” Steele said after Thursday’s 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla. “It’s a long season. Down the road, I feel like we’re really going (to improve) and come out better.”

Chicago might not have to do all that much scoring on Saturday, though, as it plans to send left-hander Shota Imanaga (6-1, 1.96 ERA) to the mound.

In his most recent outing, Imanaga came away with a win against the Cincinnati Reds last Sunday after allowing two runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings. He has never faced the Cardinals.

Right-hander Andre Pallante (2-2, 4.88) will get the nod for St. Louis.


Pallante worked out of the bullpen in his first nine appearances of 2024 but has made three starts since. He is coming off last Sunday’s win over the Colorado Rockies, whom he shut out through five innings, giving up just three hits.

In nine career appearances (two starts) against Chicago, Pallante is 0-1 with a 2.41 ERA.

The Cardinals are riding a three-game winning streak, and they have shown a knack for the dramatic over the past two games. Brendan Donovan blasted a go-ahead solo shot in the sixth inning of St. Louis’ 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday, and catcher Pedro Pages followed suit on Friday, putting the Cardinals up 1-0 with his home run to open the eighth.

It was the first major league home run for Pages, who has caught the eye of St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol.

“He’s been doing a phenomenal job,” Marmol said of Pages. “I felt like he called a really, really good game (behind the plate), he was under control, especially in this environment. This is a fun place to play, and he slowed the game down and did a really nice job.

“And then the homer, I mean that clubhouse … was going nuts for it. They really enjoyed that one.”

Donovan, meanwhile, has put together a nine-game hitting streak. He is 11-for-34 (.324) with a home run, four RBIs and five runs during that span.

The Cubs’ Cody Bellinger saw a five-game hitting streak come to an end on Friday, when he went 0-for-4.

Saturday marks the fourth meeting of the season between the teams. The Cardinals are 3-0 against Chicago this year, with two of those wins coming by only one run.


–Field Level Media

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