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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Cardinals series preview

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The Cubs arch rivals visit Wrigley for the last regular season series of 2018.

Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

You don’t need a lot of introduction here. If the Cubs sweep this series, they win the N.L. Central no matter what the Brewers do. Sweeping would also eliminate the Cardinals from postseason consideration.

We’d all like that, I’m sure. Here’s an update on the Cardinals from Josey Curtis, managing editor of our SB Nation Cardinals site Viva el Birdos.

With just three games remaining in the regular season, the Cardinals come to Chicago this weekend with an urgent need for wins. The Dodgers and Rockies need to lose, sure, but St. Louis will have to defeat the Cubs to finish September if they wish to play in October. The Cardinals have not made the playoffs since 2015.

Entering Friday, the Cardinals sit a game out of a Wild Card spot, with the Brewers and Dodgers currently in possession. After an August where quality pitching and timely hitting were nightly occurrences, the Cardinals will need to tap back into that — or at least one of those areas — if they are to land one of the remaining postseason spots in the season’s final weekend.

This series is important for the Cubs, too. They have clinched at least a Wild Card spot, but the Central division crown is up for grabs. The Brewers are riding a 7-3 stretch and have returned to Milwaukee to close out the year with the Tigers.

Fun fact

The Cubs were 14-5 against the Cardinals last year, but will have to sweep this series to have a winning record vs. St. Louis in 2018, as they enter this set 7-9 against them. The Cubs are 4-3 against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field this year.

Pitching matchups

Friday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (13-11, 3.49 ERA, 1.147 WHIP, 3.77 FIP) vs. Adam Wainwright, RHP (2-3, 4.08 ERA, 1.500 WHIP, 4.37 FIP)

Saturday: Cole Hamels, LHP (4-2, 2.47 ERA, 1.139 WHIP, 3.50 FIP) vs. Miles Mikolas, RHP (17-4, 2.94 ERA, 1.090 WHIP, 3.34 FIP)

Sunday: Mike Montgomery, LHP (5-6, 3.99 ERA, 1.356 WHIP, 3.96 FIP) vs. Jack Flaherty, RHP (8-8, 3.16 ERA, 1.079 WHIP, 3.85 FIP)

NOTE: Hamels’ numbers above are with the Cubs only. Overall in 2018: 31 starts, 9-11, 3.87 ERA, 1.285 WHIP, 4.55 FIP

Times & TV channels

Friday: 1:20 p.m. CT, ABC7 Chicago, ESPN (no blackouts)

Saturday: 12:05 p.m. CT, Fox-TV (regional — coverage map)

Sunday: 2:20 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago

Prediction

The Cubs will win this series. I’m not sure I can call for a sweep, so two of three and one game’s worth of help from the Tigers, and a division title.

Up next

At this point... undetermined. It could be a division tiebreaker Monday at Wrigley Field, or it could be Game 1 of a division series next Thursday.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Cardinals?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    3
    (94 votes)
  • 58%
    2
    (205 votes)
  • 10%
    1
    (37 votes)
  • 3%
    0
    (12 votes)
348 votes total Vote Now