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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Cardinals series preview

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It's taken seven weeks into the 2021 season, but this year’s versions of the Cubs and Cards will finally meet this weekend.

Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images

The Cubs and Cardinals have both played their first 43 games of the season (26.5 percent of the 162-game schedule) without facing each other.

Now, of the Cubs’ next 55 games, 13 will be against their arch-rivals from St. Louis. Those 13 games will likely go a long way toward telling us what sort of 2021 season the Cubs will have.

Both teams are hot. The Cubs have won 10 of their last 15. The Cardinals have won 13 of their last 19.

For more on the Cardinals, here’s Josey Curtis, manager of our SB Nation Cardinals site Viva el Birdos:

The Cubs and Cardinals will play at Busch Stadium this weekend, the first time the clubs have met in the Gateway City since 2019. The Cardinals are 14-8 at home and enter this series with the Cubs at 25-18 overall, atop the National League Central division.

Friday night, the Cardinals will get Carlos Martinez back in the rotation. The right-hander missed two starts after injuring his ankle…. celebrating a teammate’s home run. Also making his return to the rotation for the Cardinals is Miles Mikolas, who we haven’t seen in a Major League game since 2019 after he underwent forearm surgery and the subsequent rehab. Mikolas is slated to start Saturday evening. With both of these guys in the rotation, it marks the first point we have seen St. Louis’s rotation at full strength this season.

Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado enters this weekend on his best offensive stretch with St. Louis so far; Arenado is 12-for-28 (.429) in his last seven games with four homers. It should be no surprise that Arenado leads the Cardinals in almost every offensive category. Rookie Dylan Carlson leads the club with a .379 OBP, powered by 20 walks, and 26 runs scored — also team highs.

Fun facts

As noted above, due to COVID-19 postponements the Cubs did not play in St. Louis at all last year. The teams split 10 games in 2020, all at Wrigley Field, and six of the 10 were seven-inning games due to having to make up those postponements as part of doubleheaders.

The last time the Cubs played in St. Louis they won two of three, the final three games of 2019. The last Cubs pitcher in St. Louis, in the final 2019 game, was Ben Zobrist. Here’s what happened in Ben’s inning of mound work [VIDEO].

Pitching matchups

Friday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (3-4, 5.27 ERA, 1.547 WHIP, 5.62 FIP) vs. Carlos Martinez, RHP (3-4, 4.35 ERA, 1.161 WHIP, 4.00 FIP)

Saturday: Adbert Alzolay, RHP (2-3, 4.62 ERA, 0.892 WHIP, 4.57 FIP) vs. Miles Mikolas, RHP (2021 season debut)

Sunday: Zach Davies, RHP (2-2, 5.58 ERA, 1.760 WHIP, 5.22 FIP) vs. Adam Wainwright, RHP (2-4, 4.63 ERA, 1.350 WHIP, 4.91 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Friday: 7:15 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Saturday: 6:15 p.m. CT, Fox-TV (regional — coverage map)

Sunday: 6:08 p.m. CT, ESPN

Prediction

I like two of these three pitching matchups, pretty sure you can guess which two.

The Cubs are playing well. They'll take two of three.

Up next

The Cubs have Monday off, then head to Pittsburgh for yet another meeting with the Pirates, a three-game series at PNC Park beginning Tuesday evening.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Cardinals?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    3
    (41 votes)
  • 39%
    2
    (106 votes)
  • 34%
    1
    (94 votes)
  • 10%
    0
    (28 votes)
269 votes total Vote Now