St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals have a double-digit lead in the National League Central standings over the Chicago Cubs heading into their three-game series this weekend.
Here, the Cardinals will look to extend that gap and their lead over the rest of the division, while the Cubs simply look to build something positive going forward.
This game is the start of the final series between these teams until August, and both sides have plenty of reason to want to start it on the right foot.
This season has been a disaster for the Chicago Cubs so far, as they sit in fourth place in the NL Central going into the weekend. Only the Cincinnati Reds have a worse record in this division, and only four teams in the entire league have a worse record than the Cubs.
Here, the Cubs will look not just to pick up a rare win in what has been a tough season they also look to beat their biggest rival in the St. Louis Cardinals.
If the Cubs are going to pull it off, they are going to need a strong start out of Kyle Hendricks, who has struggled mightily this season. Hendricks is just 2-6 on the year, sporting an ERA of 5.43 and giving up 13 home runs on the season.
He will need to be especially careful against the dangerous Paul Goldschmidt in this game, but with Hendricks’ current form, he needs to be careful against just about every opposing hitter.
Offensively, the Cubs have struggled to find any sort of consistency for much of the year, as recent games would indicate. Chicago was held to a total of two runs across a recent three-game period against the Atlanta Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates.
They then responded with a 14-run outburst against the Pirates right after, as their lack of consistent offense has made them one of baseball’s worst teams.
The St. Louis Cardinals come into this weekend series against the Chicago Cubs at the top of the NL Central standings. They got there by securing a series win against the Milwaukee Brewers in their most recently completed series, as St. Louis and Milwaukee battle for the top spot in this division.
For the Cardinals, this weekend series represents a golden opportunity to keep piling up the wins against an inferior opponent.
Andre Pallante is the starting pitcher for the Cardinals in this game, and he has been excellent during the 2022 campaign so far. Pallante is just 2-2 on the season, but he has an ERA of 1.69 and has struck out 29 batters in just 42.2 innings of work.
The only concern for Pallante coming into this game is his control, as he has issued 18 walks in a relatively low number of innings, and he could let the Cubs hang around if he isn’t on point early.
Fortunately for the Cardinals, they have bats in their lineup like Paul Goldschmidt to help out if Pallante gives up some runs. Goldschmidt has broken the 60 RBI barrier in the Cardinals’ first 71 games, putting him on pace to drive in well over 120 runs on the year.
Here, he will like his chances against a struggling Hendricks and a Cubs bullpen that has not helped them win many games at all.
The Cardinals will be heavily favored in this game, and rightly so, given that they have had a much better year than Chicago in every conceivable way.
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