A pair of bitter NL Central rivals continue their weekend series on the north side of the Windy City. The St. Louis Cardinals are on the road as they play the second game of a four-game set and the second game of a day-night doubleheader with the Chicago Cubs Friday night. St. Louis closed a four-game set on the road with the Brewers Thursday afternoon. The Cardinals pounded their way to a 10-2 win on Wednesday night in the middle game of that set. Chicago was swept in a two-game interleague set with the Twins as they were beaten 5-4 at home Wednesday night. This article was published prior to the conclusion of the Cardinals’ contest Thursday with Milwaukee, not to mention the first game of Friday’s doubleheader at Wrigley Field.
St. Louis Cardinals Trying to Lock Down Playoff PositionSt. Louis entered Thursday’s finale with the Brewers having won 11 straight games after pounding their way to a win Wednesday night. The Cardinals entered Thursday second in the NL Central, 11 games behind the Brewers for the division lead. In the playoff picture, the team held the second wild-card spot in the National League by 4.5 games over the Reds and Phillies. On Wednesday, St. Louis got three hits from Paul Goldschmidt (three runs, two RBI) and Harrison Bader (run, RBI) to lead a 15-hit attack. Goldschmidt (his 27th) and Tyler O’Neill (his 29th) each homered in the victory. Miles Mikolas (2-2) earned the win on the mound as he threw seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits with no walks and three strikeouts.
Nolan's back and making it look oh so easy! pic.twitter.com/1siERXn8yR— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 23, 2021
Jack Flaherty gets the ball for the Cardinals as he makes his 15th start of the year in this one. He comes in 9-2 with a 3.08 ERA, a 1.026 WHIP, 24 walks and 81 strikeouts over 76 innings of work on the season. Flaherty took the loss in his last start, which came on the road against the Tigers on August 24. He threw two innings, allowing four runs on four hits with three walks and one strikeout in a 4-3 Cardinals loss. On the road this season, Flaherty is 5-1 with a 3.35 ERA, a 1.116 WHIP, 15 walks and 47 strikeouts over 43 innings of work in eight starts. Flaherty makes his 13th career appearance and 12th start against the Cubs in this contest. He comes in 3-3 with a 3.15 ERA, a 1.049 WHIP, 25 walks and 66 strikeouts over 54.1 innings of work against them. Flaherty is 1-3 with a 5.22 ERA, a 1.432 WHIP, 19 walks and 36 strikeouts over 29.1 innings in seven career starts at Wrigley Field.
Chicago Cubs Look to Slow Down RedbirdsChicago lost their second straight and their ninth in the last 11 games as they were swept in a brief two-game interleague set by the Twins at home Wednesday night. The Cubs entered Thursday fourth in the NL Central, 24 games behind the Brewers for the division lead. They have been eliminated from playoff contention. On Wednesday, Chicago got a pair of hits from Nico Hoerner (two RBI) and Frank Schwindel (run) though the team fanned 18 times in the contest. Kyle Hendricks (14-7) took the loss as he allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits with no walks and three strikeouts over 5.2 innings of work.
If you don't love Frank Schwindel, you're doing it wrong. pic.twitter.com/ODDY7hIf6d— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 22, 2021
Zach Davies is on the mound for his 32nd start of the year for the Cubs in this contest. He comes in 6-11 with a 5.49 ERA, a 1.562 WHIP, 73 walks and 112 strikeouts over 146 innings of work this season. Davies didn’t factor in the decision in his last start, which came on the road against the Brewers last Friday. He threw 4.1 innings, allowing four runs on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts in an 8-5 Cubs defeat. At home this season, Davies is 4-7 with a 5.99 ERA, a 1.536 WHIP, 36 walks and 61 strikeouts over 82.2 innings of work in 17 starts. Davies makes his 14th career start against the Cardinals in this contest. He comes in 3-4 with a 3.93 ERA, a 1.309 WHIP, 18 walks and 64 strikeouts over 73.1 innings of work against them. Davies is 8-10 with a 5.14 ERA, a 1.447 WHIP, 46 walks and 95 strikeouts over 131.1 innings in 26 career starts at Wrigley Field.
The top trends for this contest are:
- Cardinals are 6-0 in their last 6 road games vs. a team with a winning home record
- Cardinals are 5-0 in their last 5 vs. National League Central
- Cardinals are 5-0 in Flaherty's last 5 road starts vs. a team with a losing record
- Cubs are 0-5 in their last 5 games vs. a right-handed starter
- Cubs are 0-5 in their last 5 during game 2 of a series
- Cubs are 0-5 in their last 5 home games vs. a right-handed starter
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Cubs are looking to the offseason as things fell apart just around the All-Star break, prompting to the dismantling of the core of their World Series team from 2016. Davies has pitched poorly since the break and his control issues are a major reason why. Flaherty is likely on a pitch count as he’s been out a month but the Cardinals have an extremely deep bullpen to lean on if necessary. The Cardinals have been rolling, creating a cushion of sorts in the race for the second wild-card spot after seemingly being dead in the water earlier this season. With the way the Cubs have struggled down the stretch, you have to give the edge to the Cardinals in this contest.
Full-Game Total Pick
Flaherty has seen an average of 9.1 runs per game on the board in his last 10 starts but he’s spent most of the last four months on the shelf. He’s made just three starts since June 1 coming into this one. In those three starts, the average total has been 7.67 runs per game with the under hitting in two of those. Davies is just 1-5 with a 7.43 ERA, a 1.763 WHIP, 25 walks and 53 strikeouts over 53.1 innings in 12 starts since the All-Star break. In his last 10 starts, he’s seen an average total of 12.4 runs per contest with the over posting a 7-2-1 mark in those outings. With the Cardinals flying high right now, you have to think they rough up Davies enough to push this one over the total.