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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Cardinals at London series preview

The two old rivals will meet in the second MLB London Series.

London Stadium
Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

LONDON — Friends, you might recall the fun bit of writing we got on the Cardinals last time these teams met from Heather Simon, manager of our SB Nation Cardinals site Viva el Birdos.

I’m here to tell you that Heather has outdone herself with a London-themed Cardinals preview for this weekend. Without further ado...

SCENE I. A cavern under London Stadium. In the middle, a boiling cauldron.

Thunder. Enter the three Witches


When shall we three meet again?
In strikeout, groundout, or pop fly?


When the hurly-burly’s done,
When the game is lost and won.


That will be ere the set of sun
(Play begins at midday and in the morn.)


Where the place?


The Cardinals locker room.


There to meet with Mozeliak.


Fair is foul, and foul is fair
A fly ball through fog and humid air.


Round about the cauldron go;
In the cursed baseballs throw.
Glove, under mattress shoved
Days and nights, about two or three
To break it in adequately
Boiled first i’ th’ pot, it must be.

The Witches circle the cauldron. Enter Mozeliak.


Double, double toil and trouble
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.


Fillet of belt from Steven Matz
In the cauldron with Walker’s hat.
Cleat of Noot and Waino’s socks
Willson’s bat and Donovan’s locks.


Double, double toil and trouble
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.


Cool it with some Gatorade
Then the charm is fully made.


O, well done! I commend your pains,
And the players shall share i’ th’ gains.
And now about the cauldron sing
Like fans after a World Series ring,
Enchanting all that you put in.

In honor of the Cardinals and Cubs playing in London, I thought why not use some lines from Shakespeare’s Macbeth to write about the Cardinals trying to rid themselves of their curse. (That worked out all right for Macbeth, right?) I know last time you read from me that the Cardinals were cursed, they went on to have a pretty good turn of fortune. I can assure you, though, as of my writing this, they still seem pretty cursed. They are 8-16 in one-run games. The relievers have 15 blown saves — second most in baseball after the Washington Nationals’ 16 — despite being 12th in the league in FIP at 4.15.

As for starters, Adam Wainwright will toe the rubber for the Saturday game. Waino in his age-41 season obviously isn’t the same pitcher he was in his peak, but even with diminished velocity, he is able to find a way to get outs and, of course, he still has that big 12-6 curveball. In the rotation the next pitcher has been Matthew Liberatore, but it looks like the Cardinals are using the off days as a chance to change the rotation around and save some innings off the 23-year-old’s arm. The probable listed for Sunday is now Jack Flaherty. After some years of injury trouble, Flaherty has struggled to find consistency this season. His four-seamer was once his best pitch, but it does not move as it once did and he often seems to struggle with locating it, leading to a lot of deep counts and free bases.

Paul Goldschmidt is still the team’s top hitter and overall best player, but a few other players have improved around him now. When the Cards and Cubs previously met, Nolan Arenado was slashing .232/.282/.326 with a 68 wRC+. He is now at a much more respectable .272/.320/.481 with a 117 wRC+. The Cardinals highly-touted prospect Jordan Walker had been sent down after a middling start to his career with 101 wRC+ in his first 78 plate appearances and some shaky outfield defense. In the 60 plate appearances after he was called back on up June 2 he has slashed .339/.418/.593 with four home runs for a 178 wRC+.

All this is to say, I have no idea what to expect from this team at any point. This season is confusing and weird. Might as well be confusing and weird in London, right?

Fun fact

The Cardinals are 14 games under .500. The last time they were that many under going into a series against the Cubs was on September 26, 1997, when the teams closed out the season at St. Louis. The Cardinals were 17 under at 71-88, then the Cubs beat them, 5-2. The Cards won the final two games, 12-4 and 2-1, to finish 16 under.

How long ago was that series? The Diamondbacks and Rays had not yet played their first games. They would do so on Opening Day of 1998.

This will be the 133rd series between the Cubs and Cardinals since the start of 1998. They have played 420 games in that span, with the Cardinals winning 220 and the Cubs 200. Since 1998, when not playing the Cardinals, the Cubs have exactly one more win than losses: 1,796-1,795-1. During the same span, the Cardinals, when not playing the Cubs, have 309 more wins than losses: 1,994-1,685-1.

The Cardinals had two losing seasons between 1998 and 2022. The Cubs had 12.

(Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)

Probable pitching matchups

Saturday: Justin Steele, LHP (7-2, 2.71 ERA, 1.068 WHIP, 2.98 FIP) vs. Adam Wainwright, RHP (3-1, 5.56 ERA, 1.672 WHIP, 4.86 FIP)

Sunday: Marcus Stroman, RHP (9-4, 2.28 ERA, 1.034 WHIP, 3.35 FIP) vs. Jack Flaherty, RHP (4-5, 4.95 ERA, 1.672 WHIP, 4.86 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Saturday: 12:10 p.m. CT, Fox-TV (full national broadcast, no blackouts). Announcers: Joe Davis, John Smoltz and Ken Rosenthal.

Sunday: 9:10 a.m. CT, ESPN. Announcers: Michael Kay, Alex Rodriguez and Tim Kurkjian.


I am leery about predicting sweeps, even in a two-game series. But:

  • The Cubs are hot (have won 10 of 12, and are 12-7 this month), and
  • The Cardinals are not (have lost seven of 11, and are 6-12 this month).

And, the pitching matchups appear to overwhelmingly favor the Cubs. They will win both games in London and return to Chicago at .500.

Up next

The Cubs have Monday off to return stateside, then host the Phillies in a three-game series at Wrigley Field beginning Tuesday evening.


How many games will the Cubs win against the Cardinals in London?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    (134 votes)
  • 33%
    (81 votes)
  • 11%
    (27 votes)
242 votes total Vote Now