The Cubs began the month of May with a three-game sweep of the Cardinals at Wrigley Field, and now they’ll have a chance to close out the month with three more games against their biggest rivals in St. Louis (they’ll also be facing them at Wrigley Field again next weekend).
But while the Cardinals may forever be the Cubs biggest rivals, they’re not exactly their biggest competition this season (so far). After a brutal month of May – that began at the hands of the Cubs – the Cardinals are a game below .500 and 4.5 games behind the Cubs in the division. That means even in the worst case scenario, the Cubs will still have 1.5 games on the Cardinals come Monday. We’re obviously hoping for much better than that, but it’s a nice safety net for your brain.
As for the pitching matchups, well, they look a lot scarier in your mind then they probably will be in real life. Yes, Jack Flaherty has talent, Miles Mikolas had a killer return season last year, and Adam Wainwright has the resume, but all three of those guys are having subpar years, compared to their careers. Flaherty has been the Cardinals best pitcher this season, but his 3.77 ERA (4.04 FIP) isn’t anything special, meanwhile Wainwright (4.94 ERA) and Mikolas (4.76 ERA) are both shells of their former selves. The Cubs have had their pitching issues as well, but these are beatable guys and the Cubs offense has been solid.
I’ll take Chicago (Also, Luis and I are doing another post post-game episode of Outside the Ivy tonight, and we’re undefeated this season …).
We’re Going Streaking
The Chicago Cubs (31-23) had been hot for a while, but certainly cooled off lately, with series losses to the Astros and Reds (twice) in the last two weeks. They’re still in first place, but not by much (0.5 games).
The St. Louis Cardinals (27-28) have been losing about as much as possible this month. Working backwards, they dropped two of three to the Phillies, two of three to the Braves, one of two to the Royals, two of three to the Rangers, two of three to the Braves, three of four to the Pirates, and two of three to the Phillies … since being swept by the Cubs at the beginning of the month.
Game Times and Broadcasts Info
- Friday, May 31st at 7:15 CT on NBCSCH, 670 The Score
- Saturday, June 1st at 6:15 CT on FOX, 670 The Score
- Sunday, June 2nd at 1:15 CT on WGN, MLBN, 670 The Score
Game 1: Yu Darvish (R) v. Miles Mikolas (R)
Game 2: Jose Quintana (L) v. Jack Flaherty (R)
Game 3: Cole Hamels (L) v. Adam Wainwright (R)
- C – Willson Contreras
- 1B – Anthony Rizzo
- 2B – Addison Russell
- 3B – Kris Bryant
- SS – Javy Baez
- LF – Kyle Schwarber
- CF – Albert Almora
- RF – Jason Heyward
Unavailable: Xavier Cedeno, Pedro Strop, Allen Webster, Tony Barnette, Brandon Morrow, Ben Zobrist
St. Louis Cardinals
- C – Yadier Molina
- 1B – Paul Goldschmidt
- 2B – Kolton Wong
- 3B – Matt Carpenter
- SS – Paul DeJong
- LF – Marcell Ozuna
- CF – Dexter Fowler
- RF – Jose Martinez
Unavailable: Brett Cecil, Mike Mayers
Keep An Eye Out For …
Cubs Pitcher: Yu Darvish finally made it through 7.0 innings in a start his last time out, but he also allowed 6 earned runs, so … not exactly anything pleasant. He did have a couple nice starts in a row before that, but has remained frustrating since day one. A big, weekend start against the Cardinals in St. Louis could go a long way to winning back Cubs fans though. So … please do it?
Cubs Player: Kyle Schwarber has been heating up lately and really locking down the leadoff job. I think he could be huge this weekend:
Kyle Schwarber could be the key to a good #Cubs weekend in St. Louis.
StL pitching vs. Righties: .231/.300/.387 (6th best)
StL pitching vs. Lefties: .258/.350/.485 (5th worst)
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) May 31, 2019
With that said, Schwarber is 0-9 against Wainwright (3Ks) and 1-7 against Mikolas (3Ks) for his career, but that was old Schwarber and old Wainwright/Mikolas. I think the career arcs of all three have shifted in the Cubs favor.
Cardinals Pitcher: John Gant has been exceptional in relief this season, with a 1.21 ERA through 29.2 IP. His 30.8% strikeout rate looks great next to the 7.7% walk rate, but it’s the matching 29.7% hard and soft-hit rates that really catch the eye. Those are some impressive numbers – he’s allowed just two earned runs since April 24th!
Cardinals Player: Dexter Fowler may not be hitting for power, but his .382 OBP sure looks good this season, and honestly … good for him. I still cannot bring myself to root against that guy – except when he’s playing the Cubs. Remember how much fun he was the last time these teams met: He literally told Kyle Hendricks to stop trying to pick him off …