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CIN@STL: Wacha throws six strong frames vs. Reds

Everybody wants to play. It's in a players' DNA. No matter how many at-bats someone gets, they want more.

On Sunday, the Cubs and Cardinals play for the series in the finale at Busch Stadium. So far, Chicago edged St. Louis 6-3 in 11 innings on Friday, and Matt Adams helped power a 13-hit attack in a 10-4 Cardinals victory on Saturday.

The Cubs will trot out Edwin Jackson, who will oppose the Cardinals' young phenom Michael Wacha.

Who will be in the lineups? Cubs manager Rick Renteria will most likely insert Emilio Bonifacio back atop the lineup after giving him a day off, which isn't easy to do because the switch-hitter ranks among the Major League leaders in hits.

"They're all capable young men, they're all pros," Renteria said. "You see these guys every single day and they all want to play. I don't want any player who doesn't want to play. If any of my players comes in here and he's satisfied with not being in the lineup, we don't want that guy.

"I'm glad to have the opportunity to have these guys with that mentality and we'll continue to use them and benefit in the long run by the way we use them," he said.

The Cardinals are dealing with their own lineup issues. On Saturday, Jhonny Peralta sat and Daniel Descalso started at shortstop. Peralta was hitting .063 to begin the season and was 0-for-3 on Friday before he was lifted in a double switch in the eighth.

"More reading his body, reading how everything was going, we could have given him one that last day on Wednesday before the off-day, giving him two days," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "But we're more concerned with just getting him going, sometimes just throwing him back in there, but when that doesn't work, sometimes you give them some extra rest and hopefully they'll get in some extra swings and figure out what they need to do."

Peralta has two hits in the first 10 games, both of which were home runs. Descalso ended an 0-for-10 start with two hits on Saturday, and scored two runs. Peralta isn't the only Cardinals batter scuffling. Allen Craig (.105) and Matt Holliday (.214) continue to struggle as well.

Matheny was confident the offense, including Peralta, will get on track.

"This is a hard game, every aspect of it, especially on the offensive side, and we're going it the same way," Matheny said. "The guys are putting their time in and they are controlling everything they can control, with their attitude, their work level, their concentration. All the things that they can do, they're doing. They're just not getting the results and that's part of this tough game, but it's going to come around."

And everybody wants to play.

Cardinals: Yadier keeps hitting against Cubs
After Sunday, the Cubs will be happy to not have to deal with Yadier Molina for a few weeks. The Cardinals catcher has 43 RBIs against the Cubs, the most in the Majors since 2011.

Molina recorded his fifth multi-hit game of the season on Saturday and now has hit safely in eight of 11 games this year. He also has three doubles in his last five games.

Holliday also seems to like facing the Cubs. He leads all Major Leaguers in home runs (11) against them since 2011. Holliday drove in a run on Saturday, and has an RBI in five of 11 games so far.

Cubs: Veras out as closer
The Cubs will use either Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon or Justin Grimm in closer situations after deciding that Jose Veras needs time. Veras was 0-for-2 in save situations, and has given up two hits and walked seven over 3 2/3 innings. He knows there's a problem.

"I don't have an answer," Veras said. "I can't find myself. It's kind of tough. I feel I'm good, my body feels good. I'm not hurt, I'm 100 percent healthy, thank God. For some reason, I can't get three down. I've got to get going."

It's the second straight season the Cubs have had to make an adjustment.

"It's a volatile position," general manager Jed Hoyer said. "You look around baseball and we're not the only team that's gone through it. You always want a clean ninth inning for our hearts and hair and everything. It's not anomalous, it happens, and hopefully we can start closing games in the ninth."

The Cubs players don't feel it's deja vu all over again.

"You can't compare," Carlos Villanueva said. "Last year was last year, there's different personnel, different guys. We don't have a negative mindset, and thinking about last year puts negative thoughts in people's heads. We haven't even played the first 15 days yet.

"We won a good game [Friday] and lost today and have a chance to win a series [Sunday]," Villanueva said. "That's as simple as we have to look at it and if not, then negative things creep in. You come back tomorrow, everyone's happy going into the off-day and that's what everyone should be thinking about." Comments