Series Preview: Cardinals at Cubs, Five Games in Four Days

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Series Preview: Cardinals at Cubs, Five Games in Four Days

Chicago Cubs

For the second time this season, the Chicago Cubs are facing the St. Louis Cardinals five times in four days, including a double-header. The first time around, also at Wrigley Field, the Cubs managed to win just two of five, but there were a couple of close games mixed in there as well. Maybe they’ll have a little more luck this week.

Unfortunately, an already thin Cubs rotation will have to go at it without Keegan Thompson or Kyle Hendricks, which means we might see at least two starts from minor leaguers over the next couple of days. And that at a time when the Cardinals offense is REALLY clicking (more on that below, if you have the stomach).

After this series, the Cubs are headed to Milwaukee for three games and then Toronto for three more before FINALLY getting another scheduled day off (they’ll have played 20 games in 19 days with no breaks by then). We’re nearing the home stretch, but we’re not quite there yet.

For now, I’m happy to see the Cubs keep on winning.

We’re Going Streaking

The Chicago Cubs (52-68) haven’t lost a series since facing these very Cardinals in early August. That’s five straight series wins (plus a makeup game against the Orioles) good for an 11-8 August.

The St. Louis Cardinal (64-56) are even hotter in August, however, winning 15 of their last 18 games as they now stand a season-high 18 games over .500. They also have their largest divisional lead of the season (5.0 games).

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Albert Pujols is on a bit of a tear here lately, slashing .556/.586/1.259 over his last nine games. Obviously, it’s a tiny sample, but that includes SIX home runs in 29 plate appearances. He’s just 8 homers away from breaking into the 700 HR club.

Since July 5, Lars Nootbaar is slashing .326/.458/.609 (195 wRC+), because of course he is. That’s 120 plate appearances of a 195 wRC+. He’s just as hot here in August (191 wRC+), when he’s walking (23%) almost twice as much as he’s striking out (13.5%). Freakin’ Cardinals.

Of course, Paul Goldschmidt has a 195 wRC+ for the ENTIRE SEASON, and has been especially hot lately (last 45 PAs): 18 hits, 4 doubles, 5 homers, 4BBs, 6Ks (295 wRC+). This team is ridiculous.

Nick Madrigal since coming off the IL: .327/.411/.367 (127 wRC+), though that comes with a .381 BABIP despite a very low average exit velocity (85.8 MPH) and a mid-to-low launch angle (5.6 degrees). Point being, this might be a lot of smoke and mirrors.

Seiya Suzuki has had a nice stretch, slashing .277/.352/.468 (129 wRC+) over his last 54 plate appearances, with a strikeout rate under 19%. I would really really love to see him finish the season strong.

As a Cub, Franmil Reyes has a 160 wRC+ (47 PAs) thanks to a 90.2 MPH average exit velo, an 11.7 degree launch angle, an 11.4% barrel rate, and a 40% hard hit rate. Just lovely numbers all around.

Game Times and Broadcast Info

  • Monday, August 22 at 7:05 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
  • Tuesday, August 23 at 1:20 CT on MARQ, MLBN, 670 The Score
  • Tuesday, August 23 at 7:05 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
  • Wednesday, August 24 at 7:05 on MARQ, 670 The Score
  • Thursday, August 25 at 1:20 on MARQ, MLBN, 670 the Score

Pitching Probables

Game 1: Jordan Montgomery (LHP) vs. Drew Smyly (LHP)
Game 2: Adam Wainwright (RHP) vs. Adrian Sampson (RHP)
Game 3: Matthew Liberatore (RHP) vs. Caleb Kilian (RHP)
Game 4: Miles Mikolas (RHP) vs. TBD
Game 5: Dakota Hudson (RHP) vs. Marcus Stroman (RHP)

Chicago Cubs:

  • C – Willson Contreras
  • 1B – P.J. Higgins
  • 2B – Nick Madrigal
  • 3B – Zach McKinstry/Chris Morel
  • SS – Nico Hoerner
  • LF – Ian Happ
  • CF – Chris Morel/Rafael Ortega
  • RF – Seiya Suzuki
  • DH – Franmil Reyes

Injured/Unavailable: Jason Heyward, Wade MIley, Alec Mills, Kyle Hendricks, Keegan Thompson, Adbert Alzolay, Codi Heuer, Manuel Rodriguez, Michael Hermosillo, Ethan Roberts, Brad Wieck

St. Louis Cardinals:

  • C – Yadi Molina
  • 1B – Paul Goldschmidt
  • 2B – Nolan Gorman
  • 3B – Nolan Arenado
  • SS – Paul DeJong
  • LF – Tyler O’Neill
  • CF – Dylan Carlson
  • RF – Lars Nootbaar
  • DH – Albert Pujols

Injured/Unavailable: Dakota Hudson, Steven Matz, Drew VerHagen, Alex Reyes, Jack Flaherty

By the Numbers

Run Differential:
Cubs: -70
Cardinals: +112

Runs Scored Per Game:
Cubs: 4.19
Cardinals: 4.88

Runs Allowed Per Game:
Cubs: 4.78
Cardinals: 3.95



Author: Michael Cerami

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