Series Preview: St Louis Cardinals (20-11) at Chicago Cubs (16-12)

In Series Previews by berselius52 Comments

The Cubs have caught fire over the past few weeks, but the same can be said for the Cardinals. Their offense (112 wRC+) has been on par with the Cubs (114 wrC+), but their pitching staff has been a dumpster fire. Their starters sport a 4.47 ERA, which is slightly worse than average, but that masks an absurd 81.5% strand rate. Only the Rays have a higher rate, but the rest of their peripherals are far better than the Cards, which place them near the bottom of MLB.

Team Leaders

I’m switching to 2019 numbers now, though small sample sizes abound. Also I’m too lazy to look up which 2018 team leaders are actually still with the teams.


  • OBP: Dex (.415)
  • ISO: Ozuna (.356)
  • HR: Ozuna (10)
  • R+RBI: Ozuna (55)
  • wRC+: DeJong (162)
  • BSR: DeJong (2.5)
  • Defense: DeJong / Bader (4.6)
  • SP K/9: Jack Flaherty (10.45)
  • SP BB/9: Flaherty (1.74)
  • SP FIP: Flaherty (4.44)
  • RP K/9: Giovanni Gallegos (15.68)
  • RP BB/9: Ryan Helsley (0.00)
  • RP FIP: John Brebbia (3.01)
  • WAR: DeJong (2.2)


  • OBP: Heyward (.436)
  • ISO: Contreras (.361)
  • HR: Baez (10)
  • R+RBI: Baez (49)
  • wRC+: Contreras (181)
  • BSR: Bryant (1.7)
  • Defense: Baez (2.3)
  • SP K/9: Darvish (10.36)
  • SP BB/9: Q (1.42)
  • SP FIP: Lester (3.35)
  • RP K/9: Ryan (13.50)
  • RP BB/9: Kintzler (1.32)
  • RP FIP: Ryan (1.52)
  • WAR: Baez (1.9)

Offseason moves, injuries, vengeance pacts, etc.

Obviously the Cardinals made a big move this offseason, trading perpetually position blocked catching prospect Carson Kelly and yo-yoed starting pitcher Luke Weaver to the Dbacks for perennial MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt, who they promptly extended. He’s doing just fine with his new team, batting .264/.350/.512 with nine homers.

Injury-wise, the Cardinals have a few people on the shelf. Brett Cecil has been out all year with carpal tunnel, and perpetually incredible/injured P Carlos Martinez is out with shoulder discomfort. Our old pal Dex has been day to day with an injury.

On the Cubs side, no real updates other than that Morrow was moved to the 60-day DL. It was kind of inevitable once he we shut down yet again, the current minimum return date is the ASB.

Pitching Matchups

Projected K/9, BB/9, ERA listed for each pitcher.

Friday: Jack Flaherty, RHP (10.27, 2.98, 3.79) vs Kyle Hendricks, RHP (7.57, 2.23, 3.78), 1:20 PM CT

You know, it’s really inspiring that a guy could have a long career, going from SCTV to Freaks and Geeks and other beloved shows and still step in to being a starter for a MLB team. Why, (double checks name)….whoops. On stikeouts and walks alone, Flaherty looks pretty solidly the best pitcher on the Cardinals. However, he has given up approximately 214 home runs so far this season, which has held him back somewhat.

Kyle looked like Cyle again in his first start against the Dbacks. Facing the same team a week later, he was back to being eminently hittable. It could just be Coomer grinding an axe too hard, but it seems like Hendricks has had a tough time getting the ball down in the zone so far this year, and his fastball is not exactly the one that is leading the charge for the high strike revolution.

Saturday: Michael Wacha, RHP (8.13, 3.73, 4.52) vs Yu Darvish, RHP (10.53, 3.82, 4.24), 3:05 PM CT

Darvish had yet another start where he struggled to fins the zone for the first inning or two, then looked like a Cy Young contender the rest of the way. After a rough beginning, he ended up with eight strikeouts in six innings, allowing just a solo homer late in his start. It’s something to build on, but will be a lot tougher against this lineup.

Speaking of not being able to find the strike zone, Wacha has been almost as wild as Darvish this year. Wacha has walked 17 in 26.1 innings pitched, nearly half of which came in an eight walk outing against San Diego last month. Hopefully the Cubs grind out some PAs and chase him early.

Sunday: Adam Wainwright, RHP (7.53, 3.11, 4.53) vs Jose Quintana, LHP (8.67, 2.84, 3.75), 6:05 PM CT (ESPN)

Waino is a shell of his former self but just keeps plugging along. Something does feel right to see him getting the draw on Sunday night baseball, the only thing more perfect would be if he was facing off against Lester.

Q was solid again in his last start against anyone not named Eduardo. The strikeout numbers weren’t really there (just two) but the command of his pitches was just fine. This should be a fun one.

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  1. dmick89

    (dying laughing) @ 214 home runs allowed. That’s about how many Darvish has given up so it’s too bad those two aren’t facing off against one another.

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  2. WaLi

    Their starters sport a 4.47 ERA, which is slightly worse than average, but that masks an absurd 81.5% strand rate. Only the Rays have a higher rate, but the rest of their peripherals are far better than the Cards, which place them near the bottom of MLB.

    Is anyone else having a hard time understanding the pronouns here?

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  3. andcounting


    The Fugitive one is perfect. I assume he searched every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse.

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  4. BVS


    I assumed any “their” associated with something negative was referring to the Card’s players. Dmick assumed the opposite.

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  5. Author


    The first thing that came to mind for me was Bush looking under tables and stuff for WMDs at one of the correspondents’ dinners.

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  6. WaLi


    The last part about placing them near the bottom of the MLB confused me because both teams are at the top, but he’s talking about the pitching rankings. On a second read through after I had my coffee it made more sense.

    I aplogize for criticizing our weekly series preview and will skip dinner as punishment.

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  7. Author

    To-day’s base ball squadron

    2B Descalso
    3B Bryant
    1B Rizzo
    SS Baez
    C Contreras
    RF Zobrist
    LF Schwarber
    CF Heyward
    P Hendricks

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  8. WaLi


    Is metabolite M4 something the body produces or something that these non-steroid supplement may contain? The onus is definitely on the players and to some extent the union to make sure they don’t test positive. There should be a list of approved supplements from the players union that are known to not produce this metabolite and taking anything that strays from this is at your own risk. If I’m a player though I’m having my non-professional buddy take anything non-approved first to see how he tests and/or grinding my daily supplement routine up and testing that concoction for positive use.

    Of course most all these guys are most definitely lying.

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  9. Author

    Cards swinging early against Cyle today, who somehow has just 20 pitches through 2.2 innings

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  10. andcounting

    Heyward’s numbers while I’m watching are so much worse than when I’m not. I apologize for finding my remote.

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  11. BVS

    What I like about the offense right now is that they are drawing walks and making opposing pitchers work (and of course hits and HR). Working the count was a hallmark in 2016 and it’s good to see that come back. Wear out the starters, wear out the relievers, leave them worn out for the following series too.

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  12. BVS


    This so much reminds me of summer camp staff pictures.

    Needs a little sign in comic sans below that says:

    Kyle “the Professor” Hendricks
    Likes: Efficiency, Teamwork, and Bug Juice
    Dislikes: Snakes
    Camp Area: Crafts

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