After getting pounded in a road series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Chicago Cubs will try their luck at Busch Stadium against the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday. Road games typically haven’t turned out well for the Cubs with the team currently having a 13-19 record away from their home building this season. Meanwhile, the Cardinals are tied with the Milwaukee Brewers for the most wins in the NL Central division. Kyle Hendricks is slated to start at pitcher against St. Louis’ Andre Pallante.
Pitching continues to cost the CubsThe nightmare continues for the Cubs.
Their pitching rotation is averaging the fifth-worst ERA in the league, and they aren’t getting much help from their bullpen, either, with the relief arms throwing a combined 4.70 ERA. That’s on par with the Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies and Kansas City Royals.
Things got so bad in the previous series that the Pittsburgh Pirates were hitting balls like they were the New York Yankees. The Cubs gave up an average of eight runs per game over a four-game stretch. Good luck beating any team, much less one of the top teams in the NL Central division over the weekend.
An uphill battle lies ahead for Chicago in this opener.
Kyle Hendricks will surely feel like he has the weight of the world on his shoulders considering the recent defensive struggles. He’s coming off an ugly pitching performance against the Atlanta Braves and taking on one of the best hitting teams in the league. The Cardinals are averaging the fifth-most hits (8.70) and runs (4.82).
Meanwhile, Hendricks is throwing a 5.43 ERA with a 2-6 record. Perhaps even the words “uphill battle” could be considered an understatement for this matchup.
No picnic matchup for the CardinalsYes, the Cubs have looked like a train wreck this season, but they’ve found at least some success against the Cardinals. Granted, all of the head-to-head games so far this season have taken place at Wrigley Field. So that might be the one area where the Cardinals can slide in and continue to spoil things for the Cubs.
Andre Pallante (1.69 ERA) is coming off back-to-back losses on the mound, but he has been surgical for most of the season.
Along with the defensive struggles, the Cubs haven’t shown much pop at the plate. Pallante only yielded four hits and one run when he last came face-to-face with the Cubs’ batters.
He’ll be eager to try to use them as a stepping stone to get one back in the win column. Unlike the Cubs, he’ll have the bats to back him up. The Cardinals have been terrifying offensively, and they’re swinging with increased confidence at the plate.
That could be a serious problem for a Cubs team with bleeding runs on defense. The Cardinals should be able to blow up the scoreboard in this matchup—at least on paper.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Pittsburgh Pirates pushed the Cubs around like they were a top-10 offense, but on Friday night, the Cubs will actually be facing a top-10 offense in the Cardinals. It’s hard to generate much faith in them after they got blasted at PNC Park.
They gave up 32 total runs in the four-game meeting.
That alone should raise concerns for the Cubs considering how well the Cardinals have played so far this season. St. Louis has made dramatic improvements offensively to go along with a defense featuring the pitching rotation with the 10th-best ERA in the league.
Speaking of pitching, Andre Pallante will be eager to right his wrongs from the previous two games. What better way to do so than against a Cubs team that’s becoming quite good at finding ways to lose?
Kyle Hendricks will be on the receiving end of another lopsided thrashing for Chicago. I’m taking the Cardinals in the opener.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Pittsburgh Pirates just had their way with the Cubs in the previous series. Don’t think for one second the Cardinals are going to suddenly disappear in the wind in this matchup. From top to bottom, the pitching has been a struggle for the Cubs. Kyle Hendricks certainly won’t be able to save them from getting hammered by a Cardinals team slashing .254/.322/.404 on the season.
The Cubs’ 32-year-old starter won’t be able to stave off the hungry bats of St. Louis to keep things low-scoring in this game. I’m rolling with the over in another strong offensive showing from the Cardinals.