As it sits on 5/04/18, The NL Central race is tight. The top 4 spots are separated by only 2 games, with Cincinnati bringing up the rear, essentially out of contention.
1. Brewers 19-13
2. Cardinals 17-12
3. Cubs 16-12
4. Pirates 17-15
5. Reds 7-24
It seems that most other teams have done what the Cardinals have done, which is to pound on the Reds…
Starting on Star Wars Day, the Cardinals begin a 3 game series against the rival Chicago Cubs. This season the Cardinals are 1-1 against the Cubs, splitting the series in Chicago.
Game 1 – May 4th, 2018, 7:15 @ Busch Stadium
Jose Quintana vs Miles Mikolas
The first game of the series takes place tonight at 7:15 with Chicago sending out Jose Quintana to match up against Miles Mikolas for St. Louis. Quintana is 3-1 on the season with a 5.74 ERA over 26.2 innings. He also has 23 strikeouts with 12 walks on the year. Opposing him is Mikolas, who has shown Cardinal Nation that he can be an effective strike thrower. Coming off a tough no-decision where he gave up just 2 runs in 7 innings, Mikolas sits at 3-0 with a 3.27 ERA over 33 innings. Mikolas has 27 strikeouts and just 2 walks on the year. Mikolas currently leads the major leagues in BB/9, K/BB and strike percentage. He is also among league leaders in P/IP.
Game 2 – May 5th, 2018, 1:15 @ Busch Stadium
Tyler Chatwood vs Luke Weaver
The Cardinals are hoping to strike against Tyler Chatwood once again. Earlier this season against Chatwood the Cardinals won 5-3 with the help of 7 walks surrendered by Chatwood. He only allowed the 1 hit, but the Cards managed to score 2 ER on him through only 4.1 innings. Opposing him is Luke Weaver for the Cardinals. Before his first start against the Cubs, Weaver had been dealing sporting a 2.08 ERA through 17.1 innings. Since then, it has been a rough time for him, surrendering 14 ER through the next 14 innings. Luke is hoping for a bounce-back performance against the Cubs this time in front of the home crowd.
Game 3 – May 6th, 2018, 8:00 @ Busch Stadium
Jon Lester vs Michael Wacha
This will be the second time the Cardinals have seen Jon Lester this season. Their first meeting is something the Cardinals would like to forget. Jon Lester simply dominated the Cardinals lineup, striking out 7 while giving up one unearned run. He only allowed 2 hits and 1 walk, making it tough for the Cardinals. He has been solid all season going 2-1 with a 2.73 ERA. Michael Wacha is scheduled to take the mound against him. Wacha has been better than I expected thus far. He is currently 4-1 with a 3.62 ERA. I’d like to see him be a little more efficient and take a couple games into the 7th or 8th inning, but I cannot complain with his performance this season.
He has taken control of this season as the Cardinals best all around player. He currently owns a .330/.447/.521 slash line. In the off-season Pham mentioned that he wants to be a 30-30 player, and he is projected with 22 HR and 34 SB according to ESPN. If he gets a little more discipline on the base paths, his SB numbers could improve tremendously.
As mentioned above, Mikolas has been incredibly efficient, which has helped him get deep into games while limiting pitch count. 3 of his 5 starts have gone 7 innings while only averaging 90 pitches per outing. His outing against the Cubs will give him an opportunity to further cement his place in the Cardinal rotation.
Honorable Mention – Carlos Martinez (won’t factor in this series)
Game 1: Cardinals Win 4-2
Game 2: Cardinals Win 6-5
Game 3: Cubs Win 6-2
I think being at home with benefit the Cardinals greatly, but I do expect Lester to once again hinder the Cardinals. They should be able to take advantage of Quintana and Chatwood with their early struggles.
Thanks for Reading!
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