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Series Preview: Heading Out To Wrigley

The Cardinals are going to play the Chicago Cubs for the first time since September 28th last year. That was the game where September callup Jen-Ho Tseng held the Cardinals scoreless for 3 innings in an extra innings affair (lost in the 11th), following an early exit from starter Kyle Hendricks after five. Bowman took the loss and it was disheartening to say the least.

Nonetheless this is a new season and the Cardinals’ bats came back to life (sort of) off Reds’ pitching (better than nothing right?). Fresh off a four game sweep, the team is heading in with some momentum to take on a formidable team in the Cubs. Chicago is also coming in confident themselves, following a Braves bullpen meltdown where Atlanta lost a game they led 10-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh (thanks for nothing Jose Ramirez). They’re back at Wrigley which is normally not good. It should be an interesting three game series.

In case you were wondering Anthony Rizzo is expected to make his return from the DL and start tomorrow so lucky us.

Lucky for the Cardinals Jedd Gyorko makes a return this series and avoid strikeout artists Quintana and Darvish.

Expected Game Conditions

Monday- POSTPONED FOR INCLEMENT WEATHER

Tuesday- 40 degrees and partly cloudy

Wednesday- 43 degrees windy with a chance of rain showers

The Starters

Monday- Adam Wainwright (0-2, 5.06 ERA) vs. Tyler Chatwood (0-2, 4.91 ERA); start time was 6:05 CT; has been moved to another date 

-Waino wasn’t very good facing the Cubs pre-Achilles injury so I won’t be expecting much from him tomorrow with his declining velocity. Chatwood pitched one inning for the Rockies last season and hasn’t started against the Cardinals since September 13th of 2013. It’ll be a new experience for most of the lineup since Chatwood has changed it up.

Tuesday- Michael Wacha (2-1, 5.52 ERA) vs. Jon Lester (1-0, 4.40 ERA) start time 7:05 CT

-Wacha recovered after a shaky first inning against the Reds where they scored 2 runs and was able to hold them to 3 runs over five innings. His last start of 2017 was against the Cubs, where he gave up five runs over six innings in his loss to John Lackey. In Lester’s last two starts against the Cards he has gone 8.0 innings w/ 10 strikeouts and 6.0 innings w/ 4 strikeouts (3 earned runs combined). We will have Jedd Gyorko (3-3 last matchup) in the lineup for sure.

*It will be Wainwright, not Wacha starting Tuesday*

Wednesday- Luke Weaver (2-0, 2.08 ERA) vs. Kyle Hendricks (0-1, 3.71 ERA) start time 1:20 CT

-Weaver has produced every fifth day and we thank him for providing this rotation with stability. I must mention his last start against the Cubs he was pummeled. Hendricks held us scoreless for five innings in his last outing. In 2016, we were saved from a no-no with this bomb from Jeremy Hazelbaker. Look for a lot of groundballs.

**Must watch Wednesday’s matchup at least**

Hot for the Cubs

Kyle Schwarber– (5-13, .385)

Ben Zobrist– (5-13, .385)

Ian Happ– (5-13, .385)

Albert Almora Jr- (5-11, .455)

Kris Bryant– (6-18, .462)

Javier Baez with 8 RBI’s in last four games

Cold for the Cubs

Addison Russell– (2-14, .143)

Jason Heyward– (2-14, .143)

This is basically what’d you expect, a formidable offense from the Cubs. No surprise Heyward still hasn’t got it together but interesting Ian Happ has rebounded from his strikeout crazy start.

Hot for the Cardinals

Tommy Pham– (9-16, .563)

Jose Martinez– (8-14, .571; 7 RBIs and 5 BBs)

Cold for the Cardinals

Marcell Ozuna– (4-18, .222)

Paul DeJong– (1-14, .071; 7Ks)

Kolten Wong– (1-11, .091)

Some bats are performing alright. The success of Jose Martinez and Pham along with multiple home runs from Molina and Greg Garcia have overshadowed some. Wong is really struggling and DeJong can’t make contact but oh boy when he does. It hasn’t felt like Ozuna has been cold, just losing his 12-game hitting streak, but he needs to produce and wait for the right pitches to hit.

The Matchups

Carpenter is 7-26 with 2 HR’s and 4 BB’s off Hendricks

Ozuna is 3-10 with 3 RBI’s and 3 BB’s off Hendricks

Molina is 4-18 (.222) / Pham is 1-7 (.143)


Molina is 12-35 with 4 XBH’s and 3 BB’s off Lester

Ozuna is 3-8 with 2 XBH’s and 1 BB off Lester

Wong is 1-12 (.083) / Carp is 5-34 (.147) with 11K’s

 

Bryant is 8-28 with 6 XBH’s off Wacha

Rizzo is 18-38 with 3 HR’s off Wacha

Happ is 3-9 with 2 HR’s off Wacha

Zobrist is 3-17 (.176) / Heyward is 2-14 (.143)


Rizzo is 11-43 off Wainwright

Russell is 6-15 off Wainwright

Schwarber is 0-7 off Wainwright

Interesting Cardinals Reliever Matchups

And

Maybe we won’t see much of Lyons and Bowman (doubtful) this series. At least some more thoughtful and careful usage.

Thoughts

I believe the Cardinals have a decent chance at taking 2 of 3 at Wrigley and that would be huge for them this season. Worried about Rizzo and Zobrist but I believe Ozuna mashes in this series. Maybe Waino will surprise us with a good performance but I won’t hold my breath.

Thanks for reading! Information from baseball reference and espn.com.

Graham Jacobi
Graham's twitter handle is Graham_Stl. I enjoy good conversation on Twitter and am excited for this opportunity to write about the Cardinals.
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