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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Cardinals series preview

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Three weekend night games against the Cubs’ biggest rival.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been more than a month since these divisional rivals met, so I asked Josey Curtis, managing editor of our SB Nation Cardinals site Viva el Birdos, to give us an update on our divisional rivals.

The Cardinals are exactly .500 for the month of June, with a 6-6 record against the Pirates, Marlins, Reds, and Padres. St. Louis won two games against the Pirates and Reds — notable victories, considering the division race — but dropped two games in each three-game series against Miami and San Diego.

An overall lackluster offense has been the behind the stretch. Marcell Ozuna and Jose Martinez continue to hit; Ozuna is batting .370 with three homers in his last seven games, and Martinez has a .450 with 11 runs batted in this month. Chicago is lucky they won’t have to face one of the Cardinals’ few hot hitters, as Martinez will miss the series on paternity leave. Some lineup mainstays continue to struggle, nonetheless; Kolten Wong is 3-for-16 dating back to June 5, Matt Carpenter has fanned 26 times in his last 91 at-bats, and Dexter Fowler has lost his place in the starting lineup.

The club’s starting pitching remains a positive point, as it has since the season commenced. The Cubs are in line to face Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez and Jack Flaherty. Wacha has allowed eight earned runs in 44⅓ innings (a 1.62 ERA) dating back to his second start in May; Martinez recently returned from a lat injury and has yet to find the stride he was riding when he went down, though he’ll continue to work through his struggles in his start on Saturday; Flaherty has allowed more than one earned run in just three of his eight starts for the Cardinals this season.

Fun fact

Cardinals vs. Reds and White Sox: 11-1
Cardinals vs. all other teams: 25-29

Of course, I conveniently left out of those numbers the fact that the Cardinals have won four of five against the Cubs so far this year. It’s time to start evening that up.

Pitching matchups

Friday: Jon Lester, LHP (7-2, 2.22 ERA, 1.091 WHIP, 3.98 FIP) vs. Michael Wacha, RHP (8-1, 2.47 ERA, 1.109 WHIP, 3.41 FIP)

Saturday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (4-6, 3.48 ERA, 1.094 WHIP, 4.52 FIP) vs. Carlos Martinez, RHP (3-3, 2.50 ERA, 1.283 WHIP, 3.64 FIP)

Sunday: Jose Quintana, LHP (6-4, 4.09 ERA, 1.336 WHIP, 4.37 FIP) vs. Jack Flaherty, RHP (3-2, 2.96 ERA, 1.095 WHIP, 3.56 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Friday: 7:15 p.m. CT, ABC7 Chicago, MLB Network (outside Chicago and St. Louis markets)

Saturday: 7:15 p.m. CT, Fox-TV (regional — coverage map)

Sunday: 7:05 p.m. CT, ESPN

Prediction

This road trip did not begin well for the Cubs, dropping two of three in Milwaukee. Even so, they allowed the Brewers just seven runs in the three games, so the pitching staff has been on target. Presuming that keeps up, the Cubs should take two of three here.

Up next

The Cubs return to Wrigley Field for a three-game series against the Dodgers beginning Monday evening.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Cardinals?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    3
    (50 votes)
  • 44%
    2
    (109 votes)
  • 27%
    1
    (67 votes)
  • 8%
    0
    (21 votes)
247 votes total Vote Now