Chicago Cubs (38-27) at St. Louis Cardinals (36-30)
|Date & Time||Friday June 15, 2018, 8:15 PM (EDT)|
The Line: St. Louis Cardinals -103 / Chicago Cubs -107 --- Over/Under: 8
The Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals meet in game one of a three game NL Central division set from Busch Stadium in MLB action on Friday.
The Chicago Cubs will look to rebound after losing their crucial division set with Milwaukee, being shutout in the last two games, including a 1-0 score line in the finale on Wednesday. Javier Baez went 2 for 4 with a double, while Tommy La Stella, Ian Happ, Kyle Schwarber and Addison Russell each added base hits as the Cubbies mustered up just six hits as a team in the loss. Mike Montgomery took the loss, falling to 2-2 this season after giving up the one run on two hits while striking out four over six innings of work. Jon Lester will start game one and is 7-2 with a 2.22 ERA and 66 strikeouts this season. In his career, Lester is 6-4 with a 2.22 ERA and 103 strikeouts against St. Louis.
The St. Louis Cardinals will be looking to rebound after losing their series with San Diego, including a 2nd straight 4-2 loss in the series finale on Wednesday. Marcell Ozuna went 2 for 4 with a home run, accounting for both Cardinal runs in the loss. Jedd Gyorko went 2 for 4 as well, while Harrison Bader, Tommy Pham, Jose Martinez and starting pitcher Luke Weaver each added a base hit in the losing effort. Weaver took the loss to fall to 3-6 this season after giving up all four runs on nine hits while striking out four over 5.1 innings of work. Michael Wacha will start game one and is 8-1 with a 2.47 ERA and 67 strikeouts this season. In his career, Wacha is 4-7 with a 6.12 ERA and 88 strikeouts against the Cubs.
Chicago is 9-1 in Lester’s last 10 division starts and 12-5 in their last 17 games overall while the under is 6-1 in their last 7 division matchups. St. Louis is 10-2 in Wacha’s last 12 starts overall and 6-0 in his last 6 division starts while the under is 4-0 in their last 4 games overall. Chicago is 4-1 in Lester’s lat 5 starts against St. Louis while the Cardinals are 2-8 in Wacha’s last 10 starts against Chicago.
Lester has thrown back-to-back seven inning shutouts, and a lot of the head-to-head trends point to the Cubs here. However, Wacha has allowed two runs or less in each of his last 10 starts, and while Chicago losing to Milwaukee hurts them in the standings, the Cardinals losing to the Padres hurts their pride as well. I think this series means more to St. Louis in the early going as they’re not only chasing Milwaukee, but the Cubs as well and this series will be crucial for the Cardinals to be competitive later on in the year. Look for an angry Cardinals team come out firing in the series opener and to draw first blood here.