The Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals will have center stage to themselves when baseball resumes on Thursday, with their first of a five (!)-game series tomorrow night. Talk about a unique set of circumstances.
The Cubs and Cardinals will be the first two teams out of the gate and playing five games in four days. It will be the first time the Cubs have seen the Cardinals since mid-June when they took two of three from the Redbirds at Busch Stadium.
And, according to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, this is how the Cubs’ rotation will look coming out of the break:
- Thursday: Kyle Hendricks
- Friday: Jon Lester
- Saturday Double-Header: Mike Montgomery and Tyler Chatwood
- Sunday: Jose Quintana
The only thing still up in the air for this series is the order in which Montgomery and Chatwood will go on Saturday (though that could ultimately depend on whom is available out of the bullpen and even Iowa). They’ll also probably need a sixth starter for Monday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, but I suppose we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
As for Kyle Hendricks going first, just note that because he pitched the second to last game of the first half, Jon Lester pitched the final game, and the Cubs are getting things started one day earlier than every other team in baseball, both guys will go on normal rest in this order. I’m sure the decision was based on nothing more than that.
This weekend’s series also represents the first time St. Louis will come to Chicago without Mike Matheny leading the charge since 2011. Mike Shildt gets his first taste at managing a Cubs-Cards series as the team’s interim skipper. Here is how his rotation shakes out, via Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
- Thursday: Carlos Martinez
- Friday: Jack Flaherty
- Saturday Double-Header: Luke Weaver, John Gant
- Sunday: Miles Mikolas
There is no dodging anyone this weekend. Both teams will see each other’s best starters – including All-Stars Lester and Mikolas – and fully rested bullpens. And considering we’re talking about a five-game stretch in the span of four days, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a ton of pitching over the weekend. Let’s see the Cubs start the second half on a strong note by taking the first series of the second half against their long-time rivals.