Series Preview—Cardinals vs. Cubs
Here we go again.
After dropping the series finale in Colorado on Wednesday and wins last night by both the Mets and Giants, the Cardinals enter this weekend’s 3-game series at Chicago ½ game behind in the Wild Card standings. St. Louis is in the middle of must-win territory and with the Cubs set to clinch the number 1 NL playoff seed, this series will have a playoff feel to it for sure. I’m sure Chicago would love nothing more than to help prevent St. Louis from making the playoffs altogether and will do everything in their power to do so. Joe Maddon has even said that they will play every game this weekend “full tilt, “ and rest some starters next week in series against Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.
The pitching matchups for this weekend series:
Mike Leake vs. Jake Arrieta
Alex Reyes vs. Jason Hammel
Carlos Martinez vs. Jon Lester
With the Cubs going with their everyday players this weekend, some players to watch who have been hot lately:
Chris Coghlan: Over his last 6 games Coghlan is 6 for 15 (.400) with 4 runs scored and a home run.
Both Wilson Contreras and Miguel Montero have been swinging the bat well lately as catching options for Maddon. Each player with 4 hits including home runs in their last 4 games.
Dexter Fowler and ex-Cardinal Jason Heyward also had good weeks since their last meeting with the Redbirds.
The Sunday night game offers the most intrigue as it’s a rematch of September 14’s game at Busch Stadium. Lester was absolutely dominant against St. Louis last Wednesday going 8 innings, allowing just 3 hits, and striking out 8 in the Cubs’ 7-0 win. Lester also helped himself at the plate with an RBI single. Lester hasn’t allowed more than one run in any of his last seven starts going back to August 11.
Martinez managed to strike out 9 batters, but surrendered a 3-run home run to David Ross in the top of the 5th, allowing the Cubs to take a 4-0 lead.
For St. Louis to gain any ground on the Mets and Giants the Cardinals must take 2 out of 3, but it will not be an easy task.