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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Cardinals series preview

In the season’s 35th game, these two rivals finally meet.

Photo by Joe Puetz/Getty Images

Friends, as you know, in these series previews I bring you some thoughts on the Cubs’ opponent from the site manager of that team’s SB Nation site.

Today, I present perhaps the best thing you will have ever read among those sent to me by Cubs opponents’ SB Nation site managers. Without further ado, here are the words of Heather Simon, manager of our SB Nation Cardinals site Viva el Birdos.

It was a dark and stormy night, the night of March 29, 2023. The St. Louis Cardinals were all tucked neatly into their bunk beds in the room that all of them share. Visions of home runs and Clydesdales and swing and miss curveballs danced in their heads. They of course missed Yadier Molina, but he also snored, so it was nice to have the quiet.

That’s when the lightning struck.

It was a powerful blast in the middle of the room, illuminating all thirteen bunkbeds. Those on the top bunk did all they could just to keep from falling out. The players looked around the room in confusion and disbelief. As quick as the lightning struck it had vanished without a trace.

Tommy Edman leaned over the top bunk to look at Paul Goldschmidt.

“Paul... go look,” he whispered.

“Look at what? There’s nothing there, Tommy,” he replied, closing his eyes to attempt to get back to sleep. Paul Goldschmidt always gets his full eight.

“Just make sure there’s nothing weird.”


“Here,” Edman said handing him a Louisville Slugger, “Take this with you.”

Goldschmidt rolled his eyes, but complied, slowly approaching the spot where the lightning struck.

“See, there’s nothing there” he started to say, but before he could finish his sentence a light, furious and red, surrounded by foreboding black smoke began to shoot forth from the place of impact. “Get down!” Goldy shouted out, hitting the deck. It shot above him, hitting each person in the bunkbeds one after the other. The usually dexterous Edman fell from the top bunk, the normally quick Tyler O’Neill seemed to move at half-speed trying to push Lars Nootbaar out of the way. But they were hit. Every single one of them. Goldschmidt looked on in horror as his teammates collapsed in their beds. The light shot back towards the spot on the floor, a little brighter, a little more wicked-looking. The impact flung him back with huge force and the room darkened around him before he too, lost consciousness.

The Cardinals have been cursed. When you watch them play this series, you will see it. You will see the untimely and costly defensive mistakes from normally sure-handed fielders, the back-breaking home runs off pitchers that don’t normally surrender homers, and bloop singles and wild pitches sequenced perfectly to score runs against them. Has the starting pitching been great? Not necessarily. But has it been “worst team in the league” bad? It has not. The bullpen has been pretty good, but then gives up devastating runs in close games. The offense has been a top offense — only recently dropping to about middling — but leaves runner after runner on base. We just keep waiting for things to turn around, but it keeps getting worse.

Except for Paul Goldschmidt. He is in the 98th percentile in average exit velocity and the 90th percentile in outs above average. He has been the team’s rock in a vast ocean of unpleasantness. Unless something has changed since I wrote this — maybe they sage’d the clubhouse — this should be a fun series for Cubs fans!

Fun fact

The Cardinals enter this series with an 11-24 record, 13 games under .500. The last time the Cubs and Cardinals played when St. Louis was at least 10 games under .500 was October 1, 1999, when the Cubs visited St. Louis for the final three games of that season. The Cubs entered that game 65-94 and the Cardinals were 74-84. The last time the Cubs faced the Cardinals when St. Louis was at least 10 games under .500 and the Cubs had at least a .500 record was September 25, 1995. The Cubs were 69-69 entering that game and the Cardinals were 60-78. Incidentally, Frank Castillo nearly no-hit the Cardinals that night (broken up with two out in the ninth) and the Cubs swept that series. (Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)

Probable pitching matchups

Monday: Marcus Stroman, RHP (2-2, 2.18 ERA, 1.089 WHIP, 3.70 FIP) vs. Miles Mikolas, RHP (1-1. 5.79 ERA, 1.661 WHIP, 4.94 FIP)

Tuesday: Jameson Taillon, RHP (0-2, 5.29 ERA, 1.294 WHIP, 2.48 FIP) vs. Jack Flaherty, RHP (2-4, 6.29 ERA, 1.631 WHIP, 5.43 FIP)

Wednesday: Justin Steele, LHP (5-0, 1.45 ERA, 0.946 WHIP, 3.20 FIP) vs. Jordan Montgomery, LHP (2-4, 3.29 ERA, 1.220 WHIP, 2.87 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Monday: 6:40 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (outside Cubs and Cardinals market territories)

Tuesday: 6:40 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Wednesday: 6:40 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (outside Cubs and Cardinals market territories)


The Cardinals broke their eight-game losing streak with a win over the Tigers Saturday, which is probably good because I wouldn’t have wanted to see the Cubs face them riding a nine-game losing streak.

The pitching matchups appear favorable here and the Cubs should be able to take two of three.

Up next

The Cubs have Thursday off, then travel to Minnesota to take on the Twins in a three-game series which begins Friday evening.


How many games will the Cubs win against the Cardinals?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    (58 votes)
  • 44%
    (94 votes)
  • 19%
    (41 votes)
  • 8%
    (19 votes)
212 votes total Vote Now