The MLB is set up with a total of nine games on Thursday. Although it is a quieter night of baseball, there is still a lot of important games on the board. One of the top games up on the board is between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs. These two teams are in a tight battle for the division, which should lead to an exciting series. This game will start at around 7:15 PM Eastern time.
St. Louis has earned a record of 85-67 throughout this season, which has them in the top spot of the NL Central. The Cardinals have a slight lead on the division going into this final stretch. St. Louis has lost three of their last five games, but will look to turn this around during this series. The Cardinals could get off to a fast start with a win on the road on Thursday night.
The Cubs have gone 82-70 so far this season, which has Chicago tied for second place in the NL Central. The Milwaukee Brewers and the Cubs are three games behind St. Louis for the top spot in the division. These two teams are also tied for the final wild card spot, which means that they will be in a win and in game if this holds up. Chicago will look to break this tie with a home win to open the series.
The Cardinals and the Cubs have both put up solid seasons, but still need to finish strong if they want to make the playoffs. Both teams are in playoff spots as of right now, but Chicago is right on the cusp. These divisional games on the final stretch of the season are really important and I expect a good series from both teams.
The first series between these teams was between May 3-5 in Chicago. Anthony Rizzo hit a three run homer in the first game to help the Cubs earn a 4-0 win to start the series. The second game of the series was close, but a solo home run by Javier Baez in the eighth broke the tie to give Chicago a 6-5 win. Kris Bryant hit a grand slam to complete the sweep as the Cubs won 13-5 in the end.
The second series was in St. Louis between May 31 and June 2. Matt Carpenter hit a walk off single in the bottom of the tenth to help the Cardinals open the series with a 2-1 win. St. Louis then hit five runs between the sixth and eighth inning of the second game to win 7-4. Carpenter hit the winning run in with a single in the third game to help the Cardinals sweep this time with a 2-1 win.
The Cubs hosted the third game of the series. Javier Baez opened up the first game of the series with a two run homer in the first inning as Chicago had a 3-1 win. Victor Caratini had three RBI’s in the second game, while Kyle Schwarber and Javier Baez both added two RBI’s as the Cubs won 9-4. Kyle Hendricks pitched seven innings in the final game, allowing eight hits and one run, as Chicago won 5-1 to pull off another sweep.
The most recent series was between June 30 and August 2. Paul Goldschmidt hit a solo home run to give St. Louis a 2-1 win in the first game. Kyle Hendricks allowed seven hits and no runs through seven innings to help the Cubs bounce back with a 2-0 win. Jack Flaherty pitched seven innings in the final game of this series, allowing only one hit as the Cardinals dominated for an 8-0 win.
Paul Goldschmidt has had a strong season for St. Louis, earning 143 hits, 31 home runs and 89 RBI’s. Kolten Wong has 135 hits, 11 homers and 59 RBI’s. Paul DeJong has put up 131 hits, 27 home runs and 75 RBI’s, while Marcell Ozuna has 111 hits, 28 homers and 86 RBI’s. Dexter Fowler, Jose Martinez, Matt Carpenter, Harrison Bader, and Matt Wieters all have double-digit home runs on the season as well.
The Cubs have seen a really strong season from Kris Bryant. Bryant has earned 151 hits, 31 home runs and 77 RBI’s. Jason Heyward has put up 126 hits, 21 homers and 60 RBI’s. Kyle Schwarber has 119 hits, 37 home runs and 91 RBI’s. Willson Contreras has 93 hits, 24 homers and 63 RBI’s. Albert Almora, David Bote, Nicholas Castellanos and Victor Caratini all have double-digit homers.
Chicago has been hit with some late season injuries as Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo are both likely out for this game. Baez will likely sit out for the remainder of the regular season. The Cardinals are mostly healthy and will look to use this to their advantage as they try and steal a game on the road to open this series up.
Jack Flaherty will start on the mound on Thursday night. Flaherty has put up a record of 10-8 through his 30 starts this season. He has posted an ERA of 3.05 and a WHIP of 1.033 throughout those starts. Flaherty’s last start came against Milwaukee Brewers, where he allowed five hits and three runs through six innings as he took a loss.
Kyle Hendricks will be the starter for the Cubs in this matchup. Hendricks has gone 11-9 throughout 28 starts on the season. He has put up a 3.26 ERA and a WHIP of 1.117. Hendricks last started against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He pitched six innings and allowed seven hits and one run in route to his eleventh win on the year.
Flaherty has been extremely strong throughout the second half of this season. He has been a big reason for St. Louis’s jump to the top of the division. Flaherty has gone 1-1 through four starts against the Cubs this season. Hendricks has been dominant against the Cardinals, going 3-0 in three starts against St. Louis.
The season series between these two teams has been dominated by the home team. St. Louis has gone 5-1 at home, while the Cubs have gone 6-0 at Wrigley Field. This series will be in Chicago and I believe that the Cardinals will pull off a win or two on the road. If St. Louis can pull off a road victory to start this series, it would really set the tone early.
BetOnline has these teams even at -105 each against the money line. I believe that this line makes a lot of sense. Chicago’s game last night took extra innings to decide, which could help the Cardinals who played earlier in the afternoon. With Flaherty starting and playing really well, I like St. Louis to pull off the win to open this series up.