Chicago Cubs: Team has huge series against STL this weekend

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs will have a big test this weekend against the first place St. Louis Cardinals.

The Chicago Cubs will welcome their bitter rivals in the St. Louis Cardinals to Wrigley Field this weekend, who have won their last five in a row (pending Thursday’s outcome) and their last 9-of-10. The Cubs have rebounded from their horrific start and now find themselves in second place just 3 games back of first place.

The Cubs and Cardinals have the two best run differentials in the National League at +38 and +36, respectively. The Cardinals have a team batting average of 0.268, which is best in the National League. In 2018, the Cardinals struggled to consistently score runs as they finished with a team batting average of 0.249.

They are getting great hitting from Yadier Molina (0.261), Paul Goldschmidt (0.264), Kolten Wong (0.263), Paul DeJong (0.336) and Marcell Ozuna (0.279). Ozuna had a rough first year with the Cardinals last season after coming over in the trade from the Marlins. He figured to be a solid middle of the lineup bat, but did not come on strong until the end of the season when the Cardinals were already out of the hunt for the NL Central title.

The Cubs and Cardinals rank sixth and seventh in the National League in team ERA at 3.88 and 4.11, respectively (via The Cardinals are getting terrific pitching from their bullpen as closer Jordan Hicks already has nine saves on the season.

As previously noted, this weekend will mark the first time the Cubs see Paul Goldschmidt in a Cardinals uniform. In 43 career games against the Cubs, Goldschmidt is batting a cool 0.353 with 14 home-runs and 39 runs-batted-in. At Wrigley Field, he has a career batting average of 0.337 with five home runs and 17 runs-batted-in.

Let’s see the pitching matchups for this weekend:

Friday, May 3rd (1:20 pm CST)

Kyle Hendricks (1-4, 5.33 ERA) vs. Jack Flaherty (3-1, 4.06 ERA)

Hendricks is coming off another rough outing against Goldschmidt’s former team. He pitched 5.0 innings, but allowed seven earned runs. Flaherty is coming off arguably his best start of the season against the Reds, pitching 7.0 innings while striking out four and not allowing any runs.

Saturday, May 4th (3:05 pm CST)

Yu Darvish (2-3, 5.02 ERA) vs. Michael Wacha (2-0, 4.78 ERA)

Darvish settled down in his last start against the Diamondbacks, but that was only after the Cubs provided him with a five run lead. He pitched 6.0 innings while striking out eight batters, but he did walk four guys. Michael Wacha has had an up and down 2019 season so far. In his last outing against the Nationals, he pitched 5.0 innings and allowed three earned runs but struck out five batters.

Sunday, May 5th (6:05 pm CST)

Jose Quintana (3-1 , 3.48 ERA) vs. Adam Wainwright (3-2, 3.73 ERA)

Jose Quintana has been awesome since rediscovering his changeup in 2019. In his last outing against the Diamondbacks, he pitched 5.2 innings striking out two batters, but gave up two home runs (both to Eduardo Escobar). Despite being 37 years old, Wainwright has still been extremely effective. In his last outing, he pitched 6.1 innings while allowing two earned runs and struck out five batters.

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If the Cardinals lose tonight against the Nationals, the Cubs could find themselves in first place with a sweep over their rivals this weekend.