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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Cardinals series preview

What, YOU again?

Photo by Rick Ulreich/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Cardinals just won two of three in Arizona. Does that count as “hot”?

They had won five straight when they came to Wrigley last weekend, won the first game. then the Cubs took the next three.

So... let’s do the same thing this weekend!

For more on the Cardinals, here’s Heather Simon, manager of our SB Nation Cardinals site Viva el Birdos. She has outdone herself again.

While his memories had began to return, he still did not remember everything. He certainly couldn’t remember the way through Lost Woods in Forest Park. The fog suddenly enveloped him and everything around him turned to nothing. When his senses returned, he was back at the beginning.

But he couldn’t give up. So he continued on. That’s when he noticed it, noticed the wind changing directions. He followed the wind.

After a while he entered a clearing. Forest Park was no longer dark. A pleasant, warm light bathed the area and in the center stood a massive tree with a Louisville Slugger wedged into the ground beneath it. Nolan Arenado approached the bat and reached to pull it from its resting place.

The tree awoke.

“Well, well. It’s you,” the tree said, his low, ancient voice vibrating throughout the forest. “You finally decided to return. Better late than never. After 100 games I had nearly given up hope on seeing you again. Even my patience has limits, you know... This is a bat created by the ancient goddess, taken from my branches and crafted for the chosen hitter. The Bat that Seals the Darkness, a bat that heals itself when broken. Believe it or not, it was actually you who wielded that bat last season. But I must warn you to take extreme caution. The bat stands as a test to anyone who would dare attempt to possess it. As you are now, I cannot say whether or not you are worthy. If you sought to free the bat in any weakened state, you would surely pull a hamstring where you stand. Something that would take weeks to heal and never be the same again — every time you sprinted you would wonder if it would hold up.”

The great tree chuckled like a grandpa laughing at his own joke. “Best of luck, young one.”

Nolan Arenado took a deep breath and pulled the bat.

It is probably too late for the Cardinals to turn this season around, but since the All-Star Break they have played more like the team people expected to see coming into this season. Since the break they are 9-5, which probably isn’t good enough to make up a significant amount of ground, but they are at least an enjoyable team to watch most nights.

Not much has changed since these two teams last played four days ago. Paul Goldschmidt is still the team’s best hitter and Nolan Arenado has continued his hot streak — he now leads the team with 22 homers. Brendan Donovan has steadily been the third best hitter. Donovan along with Lars Nootbaar and Goldschmidt have been getting on base above a .370 clip.

The real thorn for the Cardinals has been and remains the starting pitching and its inconsistency. The two best starters for the Cardinals in Miles Mikolas and Jordan Montgomery will go in game one and two of this series. Adam Wainwright returned to the team on Monday and will pitch game three — he went five innings and gave up two runs in first game back. Steven Matz will wrap things up in the final game of the series. He has struggled with issuing walks, though in his last game his went six scoreless with six strikeouts and only one walk.

All this is to say, it is Cardinals versus Cubs for the last time this season. I never know what to expect from these Cardinals, but I do know that I am going to miss writing these up! It has been a treat! May you all have a lovely rest of the baseball season and hey, I’ll catch ya next season!

Fun fact

Sunday’s finale of the four-game series will be a major milestone in the 131-year-old Cubs-Cardinals rivalry: the 2,500th game between the teams. The Cubs have played more games against only one opponent: 2,588 against the Pirates, which is the most between any two big league teams. In all their games against the Cardinals, the Cubs have been outscored, by just 35 runs, yet they have beaten the Cardinals 51 more times than they have lost to them, 1,264-1,213. They have played 19 ties. The Cubs have a .563 winning percentage against the Cardinals at home, with 159 more wins than losses, but are .451 at St. Louis, with 108 more losses than wins. (Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)

Probable pitching matchups

Thursday: Justin Steele, LHP (10-3, 2.95 ERA, 1.109 WHIP, 2.96 FIP) vs. Miles Mikolas, RHP (6-5, 4.33 ERA, 1.311 WHIP, 3.89 FIP)

Friday: TBD vs. Jordan Montgomery, LHP (6-8, 3.37 ERA, 1.235 WHIP, 3.59 FIP)

Saturday: Jameson Taillon, RHP (4-6, 5.75 ERA, 1.398 WHIP, 4.69 FIP) vs. Adam Wainwright, RHP (3-4, 7.31 ERA, 1.924 WHIP, 5.65 FIP)

Sunday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (4-4, 3.45 ERA, 1.038 WHIP, 4.05 FIP) vs. Steven Matz, LHP (1-7, 4.34 ERA, 1.437 WHIP, 3.96 FIP)

NOTE: As was the case for Drew Smyly’s last rotation turn, David Ross has said he won’t announce a starter for that date in this series, Friday, until the night before. So we’re likely to see an “opener” again, then Smyly in relief. Hopefully Drew throws better than last Saturday, although the Cubs won that game anyway.

Times & TV channels

Thursday: 6:45 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Cardinals market territories)

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

Saturday: 6:15 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Sunday: 1:15 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network


I got it right for the Sox series — I said the Cubs would take care of business by taking both games.

The Cardinals should be about ready to go into sell mode, and might even do so during this series. The Cubs will take care of business again by taking three of four.

Up next

The Cubs return to Wrigley Field to face the Cincinnati Reds in a four-game series beginning Monday evening.


How many games will the Cubs win against the Cardinals?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    (45 votes)
  • 33%
    (84 votes)
  • 36%
    (92 votes)
  • 5%
    (14 votes)
  • 5%
    (14 votes)
249 votes total Vote Now