Series Preview: Cardinals at Cubs, April 16 - April 18, 2018

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Series Preview: Cardinals at Cubs, April 16 – April 18, 2018

Chicago Cubs

Although the Cubs didn’t have the *easiest* matchup in the world yesterday, I was sorta hoping they could ride the momentum of that awesome Saturday comeback into a series win against the Braves. Alas, the rain and cold took it away from us and now the Cardinals are coming to town.

On the bright side, Anthony Rizzo should return to the lineup today, so perhaps all is not lost.

On the dark side, it is snowing. A lot. So maybe they won’t even play today anyway …

We’re Going Streaking

The Chicago Cubs (7-7) just loss a series to the Pirates and split two games with the Braves, as they continue to flirt with .500. [Brett: Hey, .500, how you doin’, baby? I like your shoes.] They’re technically in fourth place of the NL Central, but I doubt the Pirates reign will last forever.

The St. Louis Cardinals (9-7), meanwhile, have gone on a four-game wining streak entering the series today. Maybe the Cubs can help them even out their record a bit.

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

  • Monday, April 16 at 6:05 CT on WGN, ESPN (out-of-market only), 670 The Score
  • Tuesday, April 17 at 7:05 on NBC Sports Chicago, 670 The Score
  • Wednesday, April 18 at 1:20 on ABC-7, MLBN (out-of-market only) 670 The Score

Chicago Cubs

Probable Pitchers:

  • Tyler Chatwood (4.91 ERA, 4.16 FIP; 1.57 K/BB)
  • Jon Lester (4.40 ERA, 4.11 FIP; 1.57 K/BB)
  • Kyle Hendricks (3.71 ERA, 6.01 FIP; 1.86 K/BB)

Active Depth Chart:

  • C – Willson Contreras
  • 1B – Anthony Rizzo
  • 2B – Javy Baez
  • 3B – Kris Bryant
  • SS – Addison Russell
  • LF – Kyle Schwarber/Ben Zobrist
  • CF – Ian Happ/Albert Almora/Jason Heyward
  • RF – Jason Heyward/Ben Zobrist

*Anthony Rizzo should be back today.

St. Louis Cardinals

Probable Pitchers:

  • Adam Wainwright (5.06 ERA, 5.31 FIP; 1.75 K/BB)
  • Michael Wacha (5.52 ERA, 5.45 FIP; 1.20 K/BB)
  • Luke Weaver (2.08 ERA, 2.72 FIP; 3.40 K/BB)

Active Depth Chart:

  • C – Yadier Molina
  • 1B – Jose Martinez
  • 2B – Kolton Wong
  • 3B – Matt Carpenter
  • SS – Paul DeJong
  • LF – Marcell Ozuna
  • CF – Tommy Pham
  • RF – Dexter Fowler

* Luke Gregerson is on a rehab assignment, Brett Cecil is on the 10-day DL, Alex Reyes is on the 60-day DL, and Jedd Gyorko is on the 10-day DL.

Keep an Eye Out For …

Cubs Pitcher: Pedro Strop is working on an excellent start to the season, with a pristine 0.00 ERA and 1.41 FIP over 6.2 IP. His 41.2% ground ball rate is well below his 54.9% career mark, but he’s striking batters out at a 28.0% clip and walking just 4.0% of them. He’s also induced an elite 29.4% soft-hit rate this year, while keeping the hard contact below average. Like I said: excellent.

Cubs Player: Anthony Rizzo is the guy to watch in this series. Although I’m sure he, the Cubs, and all of us are happy to have him back, he was struggling quite seriously before going down with a back injury (or maybe because of it?). If the Cubs offense is going to be as good as we think it should be, Rizzo will have to be a consistent force in the middle.

Cardinals PitcherLuke Weaver has been very good in his last two starts, striking out a combined 14 players while walking only two. He looked good in his Major League debut last season, and, if the start of 2018 is any indication, he might finally be establishing himself as an impactful member of the Cardinals’ rotation..

Cardinals PlayerTommy Pham is also off to a phenomenal start this year, with a 16.7% walk rate and .327/.439/.491 overall slash line. As you can tell, the power he showed last year (.214 ISO, .520 SLG) hasn’t quite shown up this year (.164 ISO, .491 SLG), but his overall numbers are still very, very good. [Brett: And he seems to dislike the Cardinals as much as we do, so it’s hard not to cheer for him, right?]

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami