Series preview: Cubs at Cardinals

ST. LOUIS -- The Chicago Cubs hit the road for five games including their first look at the St. Louis Cardinals this weekend. Here’s a preview:

The series: Friday, 7:15 p.m., Jeff Samardzija versus Joe Kelly

Saturday, 1:15 p.m., Carlos Villanueva versus Adam Wainwright

Sunday, 1:15 p.m., Edwin Jackson versus Michael Wacha

The rivalry: Manager Rick Renteria will get his first taste of Cubs-Cardinals. He was asked if he was aware of the rivalry.

"I’m going to find out," he laughed. "I don’t take one club more important than another, but if there is something there, great. We welcome it."

Who’s hot: Emilio Bonifacio has reached base at least once in every game this season but slowed down on Thursday going 0-for-4 with a walk. Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo each hit .500 on the just-completed six-game homestand, and pitcher Hector Rondon has a career-high, 14-inning scoreless streak to start the season.

Who’s not: Nate Schierholtz was 2-for-15 on the homestand, while reliever Pedro Strop ’s ERA rose to 5.79 for the season.

Last season: The Cardinals were one of three teams to celebrate a playoff-clinching situation against the Cubs. On the last Friday of the season, the Cardinals beat the Cubs 7-0 to clinch the NL Central division.