(SportsNetwork.com) - Returning postseason hero Michael Wacha tries to end what's evolved into a five-start winless drought on Thursday afternoon, when he and the St. Louis Cardinals host the Chicago Cubs in the finale of what's now a three-game series at Busch Stadium.
Wednesday night's game between the teams was postponed due to rain and will be made up on Aug. 30 as part of a day-night doubleheader.
Wacha, the MVP in last fall's National League Championship Series, is winless since defeating the Cubs, 6-4, on April 13. In five outings since, he's lost three decisions and compiled a 3.49 earned run average while the Cardinals have managed a grand total of eight runs in offensive support.
He faced the Cubs once since the last victory and was beaten, 3-0, at Wrigley Field on May 3 after allowing two runs and striking out six in six innings.
Wacha is fifth among National League pitchers with 57 strikeouts.
He's opposed by right-hander Jason Hammel, who's gone 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA in his last four outings.
The streak could consist of all victories, but Hammel, who's allowed five runs in his last 13 innings of work, has gotten just three runs from his offense, too.
He's 1-1 in three career starts against the Cardinals while posting a 5.28 ERA.
In his most recent meeting with them, he allowed three runs in six innings while getting a no-decision in a game the Cubs lost, 5-4.
When they last met on Tuesday, Greg Garcia was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the 12th inning and the Cardinals topped the Cubs, 4-3.
Justin Grimm (1-2) entered to pitch the 12th and allowed a leadoff single to Jhonny Peralta, then walked Allen Craig and Yadier Molina with one out to load the bases. Garcia stepped in as a pinch hitter and was hit in the elbow on the fourth pitch of the at-bat to record his first career RBI.
Seth Maness (1-2) earned the win for pitching a scoreless 12th inning for the Cardinals.
The Cardinals and Cubs split six previous meetings this season coming into this series.