24 Jun

across the pond

In the familiar confines of Wrigley Field and other major league parks, Justin Steele has been good, perhaps All-Star good. Today, the former George County High star enters a great unknown, London Stadium, when he takes the mound for the Chicago Cubs against St. Louis in the opener of the London Series. He’ll be opposed by the savvy veteran Adam Wainwright, but don’t expect a pitchers’ duel. The stadium dimensions have been increased by a few feet since 2019, when the New York Yankees and Boston hit 10 home runs and scored 50 runs in a pair of games in the inaugural London Series. But it’s still likely to play as a hitter’s park. Steele is 7-2 with a 2.71 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP this season; he is 5-1, 2.57, at Wrigley, which tends to favor hitters. The left-hander from Lucedale went five innings (yielding two runs on a late homer) against Baltimore on June 17 in his first start off the 15-day injured list. Several Cardinals batters have good numbers against Steele: Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado and Tommy Edman are a combined 10-for-25 with a homer (by Goldschmidt). … Also in London is Chris Stratton, the ex-Mississippi State standout who works out of the St. Louis bullpen. He has a 4.30 ERA in 27 games for the scuffling Cardinals, who are last (31-44) in the National League Central. The Cubs are third at 36-38.

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