UPDATE: Due to another positive COVID-19 test among the Cardinals, this series has been postponed. Original post follows.
The St. Louis Cardinals haven’t played a game since Wednesday July 29th, due to an outbreak of COVID-19 throughout the roster and clubhouse. They have since been cleared to play by the league, though they’re missing several key contributors, including Yadier Molina, Paul DeJong, Carlos Martinez, and others for different reasons, like John Brebbia (Tommy John surgery), Miles Mikolas (forearm surgery), and Jordan Hicks (opted out).
They can still beat the Cubs – so stay on your toes – but their roster has obviously taken a rather significant hit. On the road or not, you have to figure the Cubs are favored in this series.
We’re Going Streaking
The Chicago Cubs (10-3) just got their butts whooped by the Kansas City Royals in the final game of what was effectively a four-game series, but they won the first three and their three games before that, so they’re doing just fine with their 3.5 game lead in the division after 13 contests.
The St. Louis Cardinals (2-3) have played just five games total this season, dropping one of three to the Pirates and both games against the Twins.
Game Times and Broadcasts Info
• Friday, August 7th at 7:15 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
• Saturday, August 8th at 7:15 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
• Sunday, August 9th at 6:08 CT on ESPN, 670 The Score
Game 1: Jon Lester (L) v. Daniel Ponce de Leon (R)
Game 2: Alec Mills (R) v. Adam Wainwright (R)
Game 3: Kyle Hendricks (R) v. Jack Flaherty* (R)
• C – Willson Contreras
• 1B – Anthony Rizzo
• 2B – Nico Hoerner
• 3B – Kris Bryant
• SS – Javy Baez
• LF – Kyle Schwarber
• CF – Ian Happ
• RF – Jason Heyward
• DH – Victor Caratini
Unavailable: Brad Wieck, James Norwood, Jose Quintana, Daniel Descalso
St. Louis Cardinals
• C – Matt Wieters
• 1B – Paul Goldschmidt
• 2B – Kolten Wong
• 3B – Matt Carpenter
• SS – Tommy Edman
• LF – Tyler O’Neil
• CF – Harrison Bader
• RF – Dexter Fowler
• DH – With so many guys out, could be anyone.
Unavailable: Rangel Ravelo, Yadier Molina, Junior Fernandez, Paul DeJong, Edmundo Sosa, Carlos Martinez, Kodi Whitley, Miles Mikolas (out for the season), John Brebbia (out for the season), Jordan Hicks (opted out)
Keep An Eye Out For …
Cubs Pitcher: Jon Lester has had two pretty great start to open up the year, but now the question is will he have a third, or will he follow the first three members of the rotation with his first clunker:
The first three Cubs SPs each have two good starts and one bad one. Chatwood's bad one was much worse, but it happens.
#1: 95 Game Score
#2: 25 GS
#3: 63 GS
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) August 7, 2020
The Cardinals are slashing .238/.299/.390 lifetime against Lester, who’s got a 3.26 ERA against them over 121.1 innings pitched. They did tag him for 9 earned runs over 11.0 IP last season, but so far Lester actually looks better this year than last.
Cubs Player: At .297/.409/.622 (183 wRC+) Ian Happ is the best hitter on the Cubs. He’s got a 15.9% walk rate, a 22.7% strikeout rate and a .333 BABIP that is *right* in line with his career .330 mark and perfectly sustainable for a guy with his speed and a 44.4% hard-hit rate.
Cardinals Pitcher: Jack Flaherty is not a lock to pitch on Sunday, as the Cardinals hope to ensure his health after a 14 day stretch since his last start (on Opening Day). If he does go, however, the Cubs will have their hands full. He’s a very good pitcher and kept the Pirates to just 2 earned runs over 7.0 innings with no walks and six strikeouts his first time around. Last season, he held the Cubs to 10 earned runs over 36.1 IP (2.48 ERA) with a .151/.219/.294 slash line against.
Cardinals Player: Paul Goldshmidt has six hits including a homer plus two walks in his first/only five games, though he has also struck out five times so far. Of course, with such little action overall and 10 days off, it’s tough to predict what any of these players will look like this weekend.