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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Cardinals series preview

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More than a month into the 2019 season, it’s time to renew the rivalry.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

This seems a good time for the Cubs to play the Cardinals. The Cubs are on a 14-5 roll. The Cardinals started 9-8, since then are 11-3. Something’s gotta give. For more on the Cardinals, here’s Josey Curtis, managing editor of our SB Nation Cardinals site Viva El Birdos:

Entering play on Friday, the Cardinals are 20-11. That is the best record in the National League as they start their first series of 2019 against their Central division rivals, the Chicago Cubs. This is the most exciting Cardinals team (in my opinion) since 2013 and one that may snap the skid of three years without a playoff berth.

This Cardinals team packs a punch that has been vacant in recent memory. Marcell Ozuna is leads the club with 10 homers, and offseason acquisition Paul Goldschmidt is up to nine. Paul DeJong and Dexter Fowler are both hitting over .300, with DeJong leading the league with 14 doubles.

On the pitching side, St. Louis’s rotation features five right-handers with varying levels of experience. Adam Wainwright and Miles Mikolas are the only two over 30, with the 27-year-old Michael Wacha, 24-year-old Dakota Hudson, and 23-year-old Jack Flaherty. In the bullpen, Cardinals manager Mike Shildt likes to use all of his tools. Jordan Hicks and Andrew Miller have closed games, Dominic Leone can pitch multiple innings if needed, and Giovanny Gallegos has been an unexpected weapon.

It’s a long summer, and there are many games to be played before a postseason picture can be drawn out. Nonetheless, with the Cubs entering the weekend with a four-game win streak, I can’t help but think of this weekend as a preview of the dramatic games that are to come in the upcoming months.

Fun fact

The last time the Cubs went this far into a season without playing the Cardinals was in 2013, when the first Cubs/Cards matchup was on May 7, 32 games into that year. Friday is the Cubs’ 29th game of 2019. The teams will meet nine times over the Cubs’ next 33 games.

Pitching matchups

Friday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (1-4, 5.33 ERA, 1.776 WHIP, 3.70 FIP) vs. Jack Flaherty, RHP (3-1, 4.06 ERA, 1.226 WHIP, 4.41 FIP)

Saturday: Yu Darvish, RHP (1-3, 5.02 ERA, 1.570 WHIP, 6.60 FIP) vs. Michael Wacha, RHP (2-0, 4.78 ERA, 1.557 WHIP, 5.31 FIP)

Sunday: Jose Quintana, LHP (3-1, 3.48 ERA, 1.218 WHIP, 3.59 FIP) vs. Adam Wainwright, RHP (3-2, 3.73 ERA, 1.340 WHIP, 4.90 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Friday: 1:20 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago, MLB Network (outside Cubs and Cardinals market territories)

Saturday: 3:05 p.m. CT, WGN, FS1 (no blackouts)

Sunday: 6:05 p.m. CT, ESPN

Prediction

The Cardinals struggle vs. LHP despite being a RH-dominant hitting team, an oddity. Cubs pitching has been very good over the last three weeks. I think it should be good enough for the Cubs to take two of three here.

Up next

The Cubs host the Marlins for a four-game series at Wrigley Field beginning Monday evening.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Cardinals?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    3
    (91 votes)
  • 54%
    2
    (201 votes)
  • 13%
    1
    (50 votes)
  • 6%
    0
    (25 votes)
367 votes total Vote Now