The third game of this four-game set between NL Central rivals features a dynamic pitching matchup. The Chicago Cubs are scheduled to send MLB wins leader Kyle Hendricks to the mound on Wednesday against longtime ace of the St. Louis Cardinals rotation Adam Wainwright.
Chicago is hovering around .500 with Hendricks’ 12 wins accounting for more than one-quarter of their total. He looks to get the Cubs back on track after they dropped 15 of 19 games including the opener of the series 8-3 on Monday night. Still, the Cubs have had success against the Cards winning six of the first nine games in the regular season series.
This NL Central matchup takes place on Wednesday, July 21, 2021 at 8 p.m. ET from Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The game will air live on ESPN.
Chicago Cubs vs St Louis Cardinals Odds (July 21)
Money Line: Cubs +114 | Cardinals -126 [BET NOW])
Run Line: Cubs +1.5 (-199) | Cardinals -1.5 (+169) [BET NOW]
Total: 7.5 [BET NOW]
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Season So Far
It’s one of the best rivalries in baseball, or at least in the NL, and both clubs need a jolt if they want to make a race of the division. The teams entered the series with identical 46-47 records and the Cards moved ahead in the standings with their 8-3 win on Monday. It looked for a minute like the Cubs were emerging from the embers of a disastrous 11-game losing streak that dropped them from the top of the division. Their 42-33 record prior to the skid was apparently just a mirage.
Over the last few games the Cubs were letdown by shoddy pitching and defense. The staff issued 11 walks in Sunday’s 6-4 setback to Arizona and four errors on Monday led to four unearned runs. Things like that happen and manifest into bigger problems when the team is 4-15 in its previous 19 games. When pitching and defense fail the Cubs just aren’t strong or consistent enough offensively to make up for the issues. A prime example was earlier this month when they beat St. Louis 10-5 and were shutout the next day. They were also blanked by Philadelphia in the game prior to that set. For the season the UNDER is 51-37-5.
With their win on Monday the Cards ran their streak to three in a row, the first time since late June they won that many games consecutively. And while they scored eight runs, with plenty of help from Chicago, they remain one of the lowest scoring teams in the league averaging fewer than four runs per game. After dropping six of the first seven games in the season series the Cards won the next two outscoring the Cubs 14-3 in those games.
While the Cubs have been inconsistent at best, Hendricks (12-4, 3.65 ERA) has been money on the bump. He’s won his last 10 decisions with three of those victories coming against St. Louis. In one of the games he took a ND he was brilliant allowing five hits and one run with five strikeouts and no walks in a game the Cubs lost 3-2. In three starts this month he’s 2-0 with a 1.96 ERA over 18.1 innings.
Hendricks has half of Chicago’s wins over St. Louis this season going 3-0 with a 2.37 ERA in his three starts. In his lone start at Busch he allowed one earned run and seven hits over 6.2 frames in a 12-3 win on May 21. His success this season isn’t a fluke either. In 23 career starts against the Cards Hendricks is 12-3 with a 2.82 ERA over 147 innings. Over his last six starts Hendricks has allowed two runs or less five times while pitching at least six innings in each contest.
Wainwright (7-6, 3.71 ERA) has faced Chicago more than any team during his career with mixed results. In 43 starts over 52 appearances he’s 17-13 with a 4.00 ERA. With several starters on the IL the Cards are banking on Wainwright giving them solid outings, which he’s been able to do even as he nears 40 years old. Wano had a solid June going 3-1 with a 2.45 ERA, but he’s struggled a bit so far this month. He allowed a pair of homers and four earned runs in a 7-2 loss to the Giants last time out breaking a streak of four straight wins.
He was outstanding in his only start against the Cubs this season giving up just one hit in 8.0 scoreless innings. The only problem was the offense couldn’t do anything and the Cards lost 2-1 in extras.
Chicago Cubs vs St. Louis Cardinals Predictions
Our picks: Chicago Cubs +114 and UNDER 7.5
Hendricks has been a solid starter over his career, but he’s looked like Cy Young when he faces the Cards. He pitches to contact so the defense better be ready, and the Cubs are a good defensive club which makes Monday’s events even more startling. It’s hard to bet against the Cubs with Hendricks on the hill so I’m not. I’ll back the visitors in what should be a low scoring affair.
Check out all the available MLB odds.