When veteran Cubs lefty Maholm takes on veteran Cardinals righty Lohse in a National League Central faceoff Tuesday in Busch Stadium, the main storyline will revolve around which pitcher proves to be tougher.
Maholm enters the game hot, having won four decisions in a row, including his masterful outing in his last start, when he scattered three hits while fanning three in a season-high seven shutout innings as the Cubs shut out Atlanta, 1-0, on Wednesday.
Maholm is now 4-0 with a 1.07 ERA, six walks and 13 strikeouts in four starts since April 21 after opening the season 0-2.
"I'm going to have another rough outing at some point, that's part of baseball," Maholm said, "but I'm going to ride this as long as I possibly can and hopefully for a good while."
Lohse will take the same approach to the hill, and he'll be happy to do so considering the scare he ran into last time out, when he departed his start against Arizona on Wednesday because of a left hamstring strain suffered while rounding second base to head to third.
Lohse, who has gone only five innings in both of his last two starts after pitching at least six in his first five outings, tested the hamstring on Saturday by throwing his normal bullpen session and has been doing his normal running exercises between starts. He said he's ready to go.
"I really don't see any issues besides dealing with soreness in there," Lohse said. "I've tested it for strength and all is good."
The Cardinals, who were swept by the Braves over the weekend, have lost a season-high four straight games after falling to the Cubs on Monday.
Cubs: LaHair still streaking
First baseman Bryan LaHair has reached base safely in a team-high 31 straight games. It's the longest such streak by a Cubs first baseman since Phil Cavarretta reached base safely in 32 straight games in his MVP season of 1945.
In his last 11 games since May 3, David DeJesus is hitting .341 (15-for-44). He's hit safely in nine of his last 11 games.
The Cubs have belted three pinch-hit homers this season, which is tied for the most in the Majors with the Colorado Rockies. Cubs pinch-hitters have seven extra-base hits this season (four doubles, three homers), tied for the most in baseball with the New York Mets.
Cardinals: Furcal's streak ends
Shortstop Rafael Furcal's 12-game hitting streak came to an end Monday, but he's still leading all NL leadoff batters with a .370 batting average and 25 runs scored. He has led off the game with a hit or walk in nine of his last 13 games.
Outfielder Carlos Beltran was held out of the lineup Monday because of a "barking" right knee, but it's not believed to be serious. Beltran flied out in a pinch-hitting appearance in Monday's ninth inning and could return to the regular lineup Tuesday.
Outfielder Jon Jay has 10 multihit games and has hit safely in 18 of his last 21 games (.353, 30-for-85).
Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney batted .311 (19-for-61) in his first 16 games through April 23, but he is hitting .193 (11-for-57) in his last 16.
Cardinals outfielder Allen Craig has six multihit performances in his 11 games played and has homered five times in his last eight games.