With the July 31 trade deadline rapidly approaching, the National League Central race couldn’t be any tighter: The Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals are tied at 56-49 heading into their three-game series at Busch Stadium. Game 2 will be shown this Wednesday at 8:15 PM ET on ESPN. Kyle Hendricks (3.26 ERA) will take the mound for the Cubs, while the Cardinals will respond with Miles Mikolas (4.19 ERA).

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Hendricks should have the advantage in this righty-on-righty battle – but he needs his teammates to step up. The Cubs are only 8-11 in his 19 starts, driving the Under to a 14-5 record with a paltry 3.16 runs of support per game. Mikolas has gotten a bit more help from his fellow Cardinals at 4.10 runs per game, enough for a team record of 11-10 (Under 11-8-2).

Injuries have caught up to both sides lately. Chicago lost back-up 2B Daniel Descalso (.545 OPS) to a sprained left ankle on Sunday, while Cards OF Dexter Fowler (.757 OPS) is day-to-day with a bruised right foot. The Cubs are thin at second base with Addison Russell (.733 OPS) optioned to AAA-Iowa and Ben Zobrist (.596 OPS) on the team’s restricted list.

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