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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Cardinals series preview

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This series seems important.

Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals are currently on an upswing, 12-5 since the All-Star break, while the Cubs have gone 9-6 in that time frame, and St. Louis is 15-8 in July to the Cubs’ 11-10.

Seems like the Cubs are worse than 11-10 this month, right? Given the struggles on the road? The reasons for the Cubs’ struggles are well-documented and we don’t have to rehash them here.

I’ll just note that the Cardinals are playing two games better than their Pythagorean projection, with a run differential of +21, while the Cubs are three games worse than theirs, with a run differential of +71. Whether that’s meaningful or not will likely come out over the next three nights.

For more on the Cardinals, here’s Josey Curtis, managing editor of our SB Nation Cardinals site Viva El Birdos.

Tied for first place in the National League Central, the Cubs and Cardinals are set for a very exciting series in St. Louis this week.

The Cardinals have been playing much better than the last they faced the Cubs. Mainly, it has been an uptick in offense that has sparked St. Louis’s recent surge. Paul Goldschmidt is producing like the club had hoped for oh-so-much, highlighted by his six-game homer streak last week. This team also looks quite a bit different due to injuries. Yadier Molina, Matt Carpenter, and Marcell Ozuna are all on the injured list, and this has led to opportunities for youngsters Andrew Knizner, Tommy Edman, and Tyler O’Neill.

The Cardinals are 29-22 at Busch Stadium this year, including a sweep of these Cubs back in late May. Needless to say, this week’s series holds a bit more value.

Fun fact

The teams have traded sweeps so far this year. The Cubs swept the Cardinals at Wrigley May 3-5 and June 7-9, and the Cardinals swept the Cubs in St. Louis May 31-June 1.

The last time there were this many consecutive sweeps in this rivalry was 1978, when the Cubs won the first 12 games between the two clubs, four straight three-game sweeps, two at Wrigley, two in St. Louis. The 15-3 record the Cubs had vs. the Cardinals that year is by far their best in the expansion era.

Pitching matchups

Tuesday: Yu Darvish, RHP (3-4, 4.54 ERA, 1.235 WHIP, 4.84 FIP) vs. Adam Wainwright, RHP (7-7, 4.63 ERA, 1.398 WHIP, 4.33 FIP)

Wednesday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (7-8, 3.26 ERA, 1.129 WHIP, 3.75 FIP) vs. Miles Mikolas, RHP (7-10, 4.19 ERA, 1.222 WHIP, 4.29 FIP)

Thursday: Jon Lester, LHP (9-6, 3.63 ERA, 1.325 WHIP, 4.14 FIP) vs. Jack Flaherty, RHP (4-6, 4.17 ERA, 1.198 WHIP, 4.40 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Tuesday: 7:15 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago, MLB Network (outside Cubs and Cardinals market territories)

Wednesday: 7:15 p.m. CT, WGN, ESPN (no blackouts)

Thursday: 6:15 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago

Prediction

Gonna try reverse psychology here. My “two of three” predictions for road series haven’t worked lately. So, I’ll call for one of three and hope I’m wrong.

Up next

The Cubs begin another important series against the Brewers Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Cardinals?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    3
    (60 votes)
  • 37%
    2
    (98 votes)
  • 25%
    1
    (66 votes)
  • 13%
    0
    (35 votes)
259 votes total Vote Now