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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Cardinals series preview

Hello, old friend.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Due to the lockout, the Cubs have gone 50 games into this season without facing the Cardinals. The last time the teams went into a season this late without meeting was 1985, when they didn’t play until the Cubs’ 57th game and Cardinals’ 58th.

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

It took until past the quarter mark of the season, but we are finally here: A series between the Cardinals and Cubs. The Cardinals, under first-year manager Oliver Marmol, are 29-21 and are very much “going for it.” This has been confirmed to be the final season for Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols, and this could likely be Adam Wainwright’s final ride, too. The Cardinals enter this five-game series at Wrigley Field fresh off a three-game sweep of the Padres, led strongly by Paul Goldschmidt, who is riding a 37-game on-base streak and 23-game hit streak.

Rookies Nolan Gorman, Brendan Donovan, and Juan Yepez will see plenty of playing time in the field this week, as will rookie left-hander Matthew Liberatore (Thursday’s starting pitcher). Gorman, Donovan, and Yepez have all made notable offensive contributions. Starting pitching is a bit thin for St. Louis at this point in time. Jack Flaherty, Steven Matz, and Jordan Hicks are all shelved with injury; it’s been Wainwright, Miles Mikolas, and Dakota Hudson handling the bulk of the workload to this point in the year.

This Cardinals team is more aggressive on the basepaths than what Cubs fans might recall from recent seasons. Harrison Bader and Tommy Edman, have 13 and 12 stolen bases, respectively, leading the National League.

Fun fact

The Cubs were a surprisingly competitive 9-10 against the Cardinals last year. However, that was divided up as you might have expected:

Pre-selloff: 7-5
Post-selloff: 2-5

The post-selloff record included a four-game sweep by the Cardinals at Wrigley Field, part of that 17-game winning streak St. Louis had in September.

Pitching matchups

Thursday: Keegan Thompson, RHP (5-0, 1.58 ERA, 1.025 WHIP, 3.49 FIP) vs. Matthew Liberatore, LHP (1-0, 3.72 ERA, 1.448 WHIP, 4.17 FIP)

Friday: Marcus Stroman, RHP (2-4, 3.95 ERA, 1.085 WHIP, 3.65 FIP) vs. Miles Mikolas, RHP (3-3, 2.67 ERA, 1.055 WHIP, 3.40 FIP)

Saturday, Game 1: Matt Swarmer, RHP (0-0, 1.50 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, 5.98 FIP) or TBD vs. TBD

Saturday, Game 2: Swarmer or TBD vs. TBD

Sunday: Justin Steele, LHP (1-5, 5.40 ERA, 1.575 WHIP, 3.22 FIP) vs. Adam Wainwright, RHP (5-4, 2.75 ERA, 1.186 WHIP, 3.63 FIP)

NOTE: Swarmer will start one of the doubleheader games, it’s not yet determined which one, and the other DH starters are, as you can see, TBD.

Times & TV channels

Thursday: 7:05 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

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

Saturday, Game 1: 12:20 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (outside Cubs and Cardinals market territories)

Saturday, Game 2: 6:15 p.m. CT, Fox-TV (regional — coverage map)

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

Prediction

The Cubs played a competitive series against the Brewers and I think they can do the same vs. St. Louis. The pitching matchups seem not too bad. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the Cubs will win three of five and end the homestand on a high note.

Up next

The Cubs have Monday off, then visit Baltimore for a two-game series against the Orioles beginning Tuesday evening.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Cardinals?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    5
    (21 votes)
  • 8%
    4
    (19 votes)
  • 22%
    3
    (51 votes)
  • 38%
    2
    (86 votes)
  • 14%
    1
    (33 votes)
  • 6%
    0
    (15 votes)
225 votes total Vote Now