In an attempt to save their failing season, the St. Louis Cardinals pulled the plug on Mike Matheny right before the All-Star break. The Cards just lost their third straight game when bench coach Mike Shildt took over. In win in Shildt’s debut soothed things heading into the break, but the problems persisted once on the other side. Opening the second half with a crucial stretch against NL Central rivals, the Cards dropped three of five in Chicago last weekend then lost two of three to last-place Cincinnati. For the first time since they were 7-7, the Cards hit the break-even point and fell further off the pace.
It’s turning into a two-team race at the top of the division. The Cubs salvaged a split of their four-game series with Arizona in dramatic style on Thursday and have a slim lead over Milwaukee. Despite the gap in the standings, the Cards have an edge in the season series winning seven of the first 13 games.
We get a matchup of starting pitchers we saw just last week when the teams met five times at Wrigley. Jose Quintana got the win in the finale to give the Cubs the series victory. Miles Mikolas didn’t factor in the decision as the Cards bullpen was erratic once again in the 7-2 contest. First pitch is set for 4:05 p.m. ET from Busch Stadium on Saturday, July 28. The game will be televised live on FS1.
Chicago Cubs vs St. Louis Cardinals
Date and Time: Saturday, July 28, 2018, 4:05 p.m. ET
Location: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, MO
MLB Odds: (Click Here)
Probable Pitchers: Jose Quintana vs. Miles Mikolas
Cubs at Cardinals TV Coverage: FS1
With the trade deadline approaching the Cards would be sellers, but no team wants what they are willing to give up. The Cards will stick it out with the young core of players they have and hope the group turns into a contender next season. The growing pains will continue the rest of this season, however.
The switch at the manager’s seat hasn’t had the desired effects. The Cards are who they are at this point and it doesn’t matter who’s calling the shots. They enter this series coming off a second series loss to the Reds in two weeks and are now closer to last place than they are to first place. The Cards send their ace to the hill on Saturday as they look to stay above .500. Mikolas came out of nowhere to win a team-best 10 games and the Cards are 13-7 in games he’s started.
It hasn’t happened often this season, but the Cubs endured a recent offensive slump that saw them score four runs in three games. The good news is the Cubs got a victory in one of them then busted out in the finale to salvage a split with the Dbacks. The Cubs haven’t displayed a lot of power this season with only 107 homers, but they used the long ball on Thursday.
Kris Bryant, one major source of the team’s power, was put on the DL and David Bote was called up from the minors for the fifth time this season to take his spot. With one out and the Cubs down two in the bottom of the ninth, Bote did his best Bryant imitation by going yard to tie the game. Anthony Rizzo followed two pitches later with a walkoff long ball. The Cubs scored 31 runs while taking three of five from the Cards last week, playing over the total each time. The over is 9-3-1 in the season series.
Keep a close eye on Jose Quintana ( 9-6, 3.87 ERA ), who threw a season-high 121 pitches last week in a win over the Cards. He walked four, which led to the bloated pitch count, but otherwise had a solid outing. He allowed six hits and two runs over 7.0 innings to pick up his third straight win. Q has allowed just four runs in 19 innings over his three starts this month, lowering his ERA from 4.31 to 3.87.
Quintana will make his fourth start against the Cards this season. He’s 1-2 with a 2.25 ERA in the previous three and the free passes have been a bugaboo. He’s walked 10 and given up 15 hits in 16.0 innings.
The Cards found a gem in Miles Mikolas ( 10-3, 2.82 ERA ), who leads the team in wins and innings pitched. He also accomplished the rare feat of tossing a complete game shutout earlier this season. He’s thrown a total of 9.0 innings in his last two starts, though, getting a no-decision each time. He went 5.0 innings last Sunday against the Cubs allowing two runs on six hits and exiting with the game tied 2-2. The bullpen failed in a 7-2 loss.
In two previous starts against the Cubs, Mikolas compiled a 1.50 ERA with 10 strikeouts in 12.0 innings. He tossed 7.0 shutout innings in a 3-2 win over the Cubs at Busch on May 4 and has a 1.99 ERA in 58.2 innings at his home park this season.
Cubs vs Cardinals Picks
The Cards have underachieved this year, but Mikolas hasn’t. He refined his game during a three-year stint in Japan, posting 31 wins and a 2.18 ERA in 62 starts, and that’s carried over to this season. He’s been spectacular most of the season and he’s been dominant against the Cubs in two starts. He’ll need to go longer than 5.0 innings with a shaky bullpen behind him, and if he does the Cards should ride him to a victory. They are 13-7 in games he starts.
Cubs vs Cardinals Pick: Cardinals and the Under
Cubs vs Cardinals Score Prediction: St. Louis 4, Chicago 2
Check out the latest MLB betting odds.