The Cardinals seem to have everything going for them. St. Louis has won six straight games -- its longest streak in three seasons -- and will have a pitcher who has won five of his first six starts this season on the mound Tuesday in its series opener against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Lance Lynn will take the ball for the Cardinals on Tuesday, and he's been dominant since a subpar start in his season debut. The right-hander has won five straight outings and has allowed more than one earned run just once in that span, and he'll be matched against Chicago's Travis Wood on Tuesday.
St. Louis took four straight games from the Brewers over the weekend and will go into the series with an edge in the National League Central. The Cardinals have also won six straight road games and can boast of a 13-6 record away from home. The Cubs, meanwhile, are 5-10 at home.
Chicago rebounded from a weekend sweep of the Reds by beating the Rangers on Monday in a makeup game and send Wood, who has been a real bright spot for the Cubs, to the mound Tuesday. The left-hander hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in any start, but he's still just 2-2 through six outings.
The Cardinals recently learned that closer Jason Motte will need season-ending surgery on his pitching elbow, but they got eight strong innings from Jaime Garcia Sunday. St. Louis has seen its bullpen pitch to a 5.33 ERA (47 ER in 79 1/3 innings), a rare soft spot for one of the league's hottest teams.
First baseman Allen Craig delivered a double, a triple and four RBIs in Sunday's victory over the Brewers, and he'll go into Tuesday's series opener with a .295 average in 25 career games against the Cubs. Craig has two home runs and six doubles to go with 14 RBIs in his brief history against Chicago.
The Cubs are 8 1/2 games out of first place, and they've given up 16 more runs than they've scored this season. The Cardinals, by contrast, have scored 33 runs more than their opponents. The Cardinals have won this season series in each of the last two years, but Chicago won it in 2010.
Cardinals: Holliday heating up
Matt Holliday may have had a slower April than he's accustomed to, but he's starting to make up for it in May. The veteran batted just .276 with three home runs in the season's opening month, but he had a three-hit game in Friday's victory and then homered and scored three times on Sunday.
Holliday has traditionally punished the Cubs, batting .305 with 10 home runs and 33 RBIs in 73 career games against Chicago. Holliday is batting .277 (18-for-65) on the road this season, but he's homered twice in his last three games and is a career .270 hitter in 37 games at Wrigley Field.
Cubs: Castro providing steady contributions
Starlin Castro has yet to break out for the Cubs, but it looks like the young shortstop is well on his way. Castro, batting just .277, has hit safely in 11 of his last 13 games and has reached base safely in 28 of 32 games this season. Castro is batting .329 (23-for-70) at Wrigley Field this season.
• After finishing their series against Cincinnati on Sunday and hosting the Rangers on Monday, the Cubs are playing their third team at home in as many days for the first time since 1960.
• The Cardinals' four-game sweep over the Brewers was the first time in the history of that division rivalry.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.