Series Preview: Cardinals at Cubs, September 24 - September 26, 2021

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Series Preview: Cardinals at Cubs, September 24 – September 26, 2021

Chicago Cubs
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The Chicago Cubs have just ten games left this season, but seven of them come against the St. Louis Cardinals, four at home this weekend (including a double header today) and three more in St. Louis at the end of the year. The Cardinals have gone on a massive winning streak here in September, all but solidifying their spot as the final wild card team. They’ll still be pushing hard to clinch it (their magic number is 6), but there’s a good chance they have it wrapped up by the time these two teams meet again in October.

I guess we can take solace in the fact that their prize for winning will be a one-game playoff against Max Scherzer and the Dodgers in Los Angeles. Shrug … it’s a tough break, but I’d still switch places with them.

We’re Going Streaking

The Chicago Cubs (67-85) have won just two games in their past ten tries. Their season is long since over. The St. Louis Cardinals (83-69) by frustrating contrast, have won TWELVE games in a row and have a 4.5 game lead over the Phillies for the second wild card. I’m not even sure the Cubs could play spoiler if they player really, really well.

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

•   Friday, September 24th at 1:20 CT on MARQ, ESPN, 670 The Score
•   Friday, September 24th at 7:05 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
•   Saturday, September 25th at 1:20 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
•   Sunday, September 26th at 1:20 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score

Pitching Matchups

Game 1 (Friday): J.A. Happ (L) vs. Justin Steele (L)
Game 2 (Friday): Jack Flaherty (R) vs. Zach Davies (R)
Game 3: Jon Lester (L) vs. Adrian Sampson (R)
Game 4: Jake Woodford (R) vs. Keegan Thompson (R)

Chicago Cubs

•   C – Willson Contreras
•   1B – Frank Schwindel
•   2B – Matt Duffy/David Bote
•   3B – Patrick Wisdom
•   SS – Nico Hoerner
•   LF – Ian Happ
•   CF – Rafael Ortega
•   RF – Trayce Thompson?

Unavailable: Jason Heyward, Manny Rodriguez, Alfonso Rivas, Jonathan Holder, Nick Madrigal, Jose Lobaton, P.J. Higgins, Kohl Stewart, Brad Wieck, Michael Hermosillo

St. Louis Cardinals

•   C – Yadier Molina
•   1B – Paul Goldschmidt
•   2B – Tommy Edman
•   3B – Nolan Arenado
•   SS – Edmundo Sosa
•   LF – Tyler O’Neill
•   CF – Harrison Bader
•   RF – Dylan Carlson

Unavailable: Wade LeBlanc, Jack Flaherty, Dakota Hudson, Jordan Hicks, Max Moroff, Carlos Martinez, Ryan Helsley, Junion Fernandez

By the Numbers:

Run Differential:
Cubs: -127
Cardinals: +18

Runs Scored Per Game:
Cubs: 4.34
Cardinals: 4.30

Runs Allowed Per Game:
Cubs: 5.17
Cardinals: 4.18

Keep An Eye Out For …

Paul Goldschmidt has been on an absolute tear for a very long time. Since July 1st (312 PAs), he’s got 31 multi-hit games, with 19 doubles, a triple, 18 homers, and 51 RBI. That mid-way slash line? .335/.407/.610 (171 wRC+). Long story short, he’s Paul Goldschmidt.

Tyler O’Neill is having a career year overall (137 wRC+), but is having an especially strong September: .305/.370′.659 (171 wRC+) including 8 homers. He is striking out 36% of the time over that stretch though.

Nolan Arenado really turned his season around after a long struggle. He’s hitting .256/.312/.500 (115 wRC+) overall, and is about to hit the 4.0 WAR mark. It’s still a step down from his best self, but with his defense, that’s a solid season overall.

Frank Schwindel’s hitting streak has reached 11 games! And his strikeout rate for the season remains under 17%. He’s got 15 doubles and 14 homers and has been worth over 2.0 WAR already. What a wild season.

Willson Contreras. Since coming off the IL, Contreras has a .239/.333/.500 (120 wRC+) slash line with four homers. He’s walking plenty, but he’s striking out a little too much. HOWEVA, his average exit velocity during that stretch is an astounding 95.8 MPH, which is nuts, even in a small sample.



Author: Michael Cerami

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