Cubs to Fly W Flag After First Visit of Season to Rival St. Louis

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, May 3, 2018 4:46 PM UTC

Thursday, May. 3, 2018 4:46 PM UTC

Nothing beats a Cubs-Cardinals series among National League rivalries, and the Cubbies make their first visit of the season to St. Louis on Friday night.

Chicago Cubs (16-12) at St. Louis Cardinals (17-12)Free MLB Pick: CubsBest Line Offered: BetOnline

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3388463, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,999991,169,93,118], "LineTypeId":2, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

The Chicago Cubs used to never play well in St. Louis because the Cardinals were arguably the model organization in the National League. Things have changed, however, as the Cubbies have won the season series both against the Cardinals overall and in St. Louis each of the past two years. The two teams open a three-game set Friday at 8:15 p.m. ET (ESPN+) at Busch Stadium.

St. Louis visited Wrigley Field for what was supposed to be a four-game set from April 16-19 but just two games were played due to wintry weather in Chicago. On April 17, the Cardinals won 5-3 behind a solid start from Adam Wainwright, who is currently on the DL. Bud Norris pitched 1.2 innings for the save. More on him in a second. On April 19, the Cubs prevailed 8-5. Jon Lester pitched six shutout innings and Jason Heyward hit a two-run homer. It was 8-1 entering the top of the seventh.

As for Norris, he has retaken the closing for now on the Cardinals. That’s because Greg Holland, an All-Star last year with Colorado who was signed by St. Louis (for one year and $14 million) on Opening Day, has not been good with an ERA of 7.36. For now, the team will use him in low-pressure situations. Norris, who got only a $3 million deal this offseason, has been excellent with a 1.72 ERA and six saves.

From 2011-2015, the Cubs never finished with a winning record in St. Louis for a season. In 2016, Chicago went 6-3 there and last year 6-4. The Cubs were 14-5 overall against their bitter rivals a season ago.

[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "

This Bud's For You! #STLCards

— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) May 2, 2018

Probable Pitchers: Quintana vs. Mikolas

Chicago’s rotation had been excellent of late. The staff’s streak of 33.2 innings without allowing an earned run ended in Tuesday’s loss to Colorado and starter Kyle Hendricks only gave up three over 7.2 innings. You take that every time out. Then, though, Yu Darvish sucked (again) Wednesday as the Cubs dropped their second in a row following a five-game winning streak.

Here, it’s lefty Jose Quintana (3-1, 5.74). The former White Sox has been very hit or miss so far in 2018. Last time out, he three seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits with seven strikeouts in a win over the Brewers.

Quintana clearly likes facing Milwaukee as he also beat the Brewers on April 8, shutting them out on three hits over six. His three other opponents, however, the Rockies, Braves and Marlins, have totaled 17 runs on 21 hits over 14 innings. He does have 14:2 K/BB ratio over his past two starts after posting a 9:10 K/BB ratio through his first three starts.

Last year, Quintana faced the Cardinals twice, going 1-0 with a 4.63 ERA. He allowed 11 hits with 15 strikeouts over 11.2 innings. Former Cub Dexter Fowler hits him well, going 5-for-13 with a homer and four RBIs. Yadier Molina is 4-for-12 with two doubles. DeJong 2-for-4 with a homer.

Cardinals journeyman right-hander Miles Mikolas, 29, is pitching in the majors for the first time since 2014 with Texas (spent the past few years in Japan). So far so good as in five starts, Mikolas is 3-0 with a 3.27 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. Guy has just two walks in 33 innings and both were in an April 14 start in Cincinnati. In his last three starts he has pitched to a 1.71 ERA and 0.81 WHIP with 17 strikeouts in 21 innings. Just two Cubs have seen Mikolas in a regular-season game: Heyward (0-0, walk) and Ben Zobrist (1-for-4, RBI).

  • Cubs are 9-2 in the last 11 meetings.
  • Cubs are 5-0 in Quintana’s last 5 starts following a Quality Start in his last appearance.
  • Cardinals are 17-37 in their last 54 games following an off day.

The Cubs have won their past eight games vs. an NL Central opponent with Quintana on the mound as well as 20 of their past 27 series openers overall. Mikolas is a nice story, but he’s going to come crashing back to earth sooner rather than later. Take Chicago for a Friday MLB pick.

comment here