The St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs open a four-game NL Central series in game one of Friday’s doubleheader from the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field. The Cardinals will give the nod to veteran J.A. Happ. The Cubs reply with Justin Steele who battles the Cards for the first time of his young career in this one. The Cubs own a 7-5 lead in the season series.
Happ Starts, Cards Dominance Continues
J.A. Happ will take the mound for the 29th time of the year in this one. Happ wasn’t at his best last time out, giving up three runs in four innings against the Padres and finished with the no-decision in a Cards win. The veteran southpaw has not fared well in his four starts this month and is having a poor season, reporting a 6.02 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP to go with a 9-8 record in 142 innings of action. Happ stands at 1-5 with a terrible 6.00 ERA in seven career meetings against the Cubs.
The Cardinals have displayed character this month, catapulting up the standings into the 1st Wildcard spot after winning 14 out of their last 15 games overall. They are getting the job done at the plate and on the mound. St. Louis is fresh off a four-game sweep against the Brewers.
It isn't a matter of if this ball is gone, it's how far will it go? pic.twitter.com/u2ZGw4vZLF— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 23, 2021
Nolan Arenado has eclipsed the 100 RBI mark once again. The 30-year old star has driven in a solid 19 runs this month and is up to 33 dingers accompanied by 13 RBI’s. Arenado has been kept in check against the Cubs this season, posting eight RBI’s and a .652 OPS.
St. Louis is scoring an average of 4.27 runs per game, ranking them 22nd in the big leagues. The pitching staff is sporting a 3.98 team ERA, placing them 15th overall.
Steele Gets the Nod in Game One
The Cubs will have Justin Steele on the mound for the 19th time of the season in game one of the doubleheader. Steele was decent in his latest effort, conceding two runs in four innings against the Brewers, and was able to finish with the no-decision in a game the Cubs lost. The rookie left-hander has displayed potential but has yet to consistently shut down opponents and enters with a 4.20 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP accompanied by a 3-3 record in 45 innings of work. This marks his first career meeting against the Cardinals.
The Cubs are stumbling. They have lost three consecutive series due to ineffective pitching while the bats have been producing. Chicago is 3-7 in their last 10 clashes overall after they were dealt a two-game sweep by Minnesota this week.
Rafael Ortega is slumping after a strong August. The 30-year old only has six RBI’s accompanied by a .679 OPS on the month. Ortega is having a decent year overall, accumulating 32 RBI’s and a .793 OPS in 95 games. He is 5 for 11 against the Cards. Jayson Heyward is out for the rest of the season.
The Cubs rank 20th in the Major Leagues with 4.34 runs per game. The pitching staff has tallied a 4.85 team ERA, pegging them 26th overall.
The St. Louis Cardinals are:
- 4-0 in their last 4 games against a starter with a WHIP above 1.30.
- 11-2 in their last 13 games against a team with a losing record.
- 13-3 in their last 16 games overall.
The Chicago Cubs are:
- 1-4 in their last 5 games against the Cardinals.
- 8-20 in their last 28 home games.
- 2-8 in their last 10 games.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
It wasn’t too long ago the Cardinals appeared they had almost no chance of qualifying for the Postseason. Well, the Cardinals are enjoying a spectacular month. They have been dominant, winning an incredible 12 consecutive games including a four-game sweep in Milwaukee this week.
Furthermore, the Cubs are struggling, losing seven out of their last 10 games as the pitching continues to stumble. They have surrendered five or more runs in six out of their last seven clashes which is bad news considering St. Louis continues to flourish at the plate. Cubs’ starter Justin Steele has not fared well, surrendering six runs including six walks in his last two outings spanning only nine innings.
Full-Game Total Pick
This one should go over. The Cardinals will generate a ton of offense against Cubs’ starter Justin Steele. The rookie owns a poor 5.11 ERA at Wrigley Field and the Cards have averaged a stellar 6.9 runs in their last 10 games overall.
In addition, the Cubs have fared well at the plate against St. Louis this season, averaging 4.67 runs. While they aren’t winning very many games, the offense has been fine, registering five or more runs in seven out of their last 10 games. Cards' starter J.A. Happ has squandered 16 runs in his last 21 innings of work. The over is also 4-0 in the Cubs’ last four home games.