Chicago Cubs: Astros series is potential World Series preview

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs will face the Houston Astros in what could be a World Series preview. The two teams last met in September 2016.

Remember when the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros use to play each other roughly 19 times a year? That was back when the Astros were still a member of the National League Central division. They made the switch to the American League West division at the start of the 2013 season so that each division would have five teams.

That was also back when both teams were still in a rebuilding mode as both teams finished in the bottom of their respective divisions. The two teams last met in September 2016 with the Cubs taking 2-of-3 in Houston on their way to winning their first World Series championship in 108 years.

Oddly enough, the Houston Astros would go on to win the 2017 Fall Classic. The two teams will meet again for a three-game series beginning on Monday afternoon in Houston. Both the Cubs and Astros enter atop their respective divisions with run differentials of +54 and +89, respectively.

The Astros are coming off a series win, taking 2-of-3 against the Boston Red Sox and feature a star studded lineup. With names like Alex Bregman, Michael Brantley, Carlos Correa, Yuli Gurriel, the Astros have a ton of fire power that will challenge all Cubs pitchers in this series.

The Cubs are fortunate though that the Astros will likely still be without starting second basemen and 2017 AL MVP Jose Altuve who strained his left hamstring earlier this month. However, the Cubs could potentially be without their own MVP as Kris Bryant collided with Jason Heyward in the series finale on Sunday against the Reds.

He left the game but was cleared to fly to Houston with the team, so I guess there is some encouragement. The Cubs are coming off a disappointing series loss to the Reds, the second series loss since the first weekend in April and both to the Reds.

Let’s take a look at the probable pitching matchups:

Monday, May 27: Cole Hamels (4-0, 3.38 ERA) vs. Gerrit Cole (4-5, 4.11 ERA)

Hamels is coming off his shortest outing of the 2019 season that was against his former team in the Phillies. He pitched just 4.0 innings and gave up 3 earned runs while walking 2 and striking out 6. The Cubs should be very familiar with Gerrit Cole from his days with the Pirates but he’s taken his pitching talents to a new level with the Astros. He is coming off one of his worst starts of the season against the White Sox pitching just 5.0 innings. He allowed 6 earned runs with 2 home runs but struck out 7 batters.

Tuesday, May 28: Jon Lester (3-3, 2.68 ERA) vs. Corbin Martin (1-1, 4.97 ERA)

Jon Lester has had back-to-back terrible outings and will be looking to rebound in a big way. In his last start against the Phillies, he allowed 7 runs (4 earned) while serving up 2 home runs and striking out 5 batters. Corbin Martin will be making just his fourth major league start on Tuesday. The Astros’ second-best pitching prospect has not lasted more than 5.1 innings and that came in his debut. His last outing was just 3.1 innings and gave up 3 earned runs, one home run, and struck out 3 batters.

Martin features a fastball that will touch 96 mph, a slider, curveball, and changeup. In his first start in the big leagues, he struck out nine batters.

Wednesday, May 29: Kyle Hendricks (4-4, 3.34 ERA) vs. Wade Miley (5-2, 3.32 ERA)

Hendricks is coming off a performance that definitely deserved a win, but thanks to the bullpen, he left with a no decision. He tossed 6.0 innings against the Reds on Friday allowing 3 earned runs but struck out 9 batters. The Cubs should be very familiar with Wade Miley as well. He gave them fits last year making two starts and tossed 11.0 innings and allowed just 3 earned runs while striking out 6 batters combined. Miley has been solid this year but he has a 14.1 percent home run-to-flyball ratio, the highest since 2017 when he was with the Orioles.

dark. Next. Bullpen ruining the “Every Game Matters” motto

The Cubs would prefer to head into their off day on Thursday with a series win, especially over one of the best teams in Major League Baseball in what figures to be a potential 2019 World Series preview.