Old rivals will meet for the first time in 2018 when the St. Louis Cardinals pay a visit to Wrigley Field to play the Chicago Cubs Monday night. Aside from this being a game between two long-time rivals, both teams find themselves looking up in the NL Central standings, so there’ll be a lot on the line. The Chicago Cubs are -135 over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday.
The Cardinals will head to Wrigley Field on the heels of a four-game winning streak. The Red Birds spent a long weekend in Cincinnati and swept the Reds in four games, outscoring them 27-10 over that span. The streak has brought the Cardinals within 2.5 games of the Pirates atop the NL Central. Of course, the Reds are just 2-13 this season, so it’s important not to overreact to the Cards taking care of business in Cincinnati.
The Cubs, on the other hand, split a pair of games with the Braves over the weekend, as Sunday’s game was postponed due to weather. On Saturday, Chicago scored 12 unanswered runs to overcome a 10-2 deficit and get a much-needed win. Nevertheless, the Cubs have still lost three of their last five games and are just 7-7 on the season.
A Familiar Face
St. Louis will turn to Adam Wainwright, a wily veteran who’s been part of plenty of Cardinals-Cubs games over the years. Of course, the 36-year old has lost both of his starts this season, giving up six runs over 10.2 innings. He was a little better last time out against the Brewers, scattering three runs over seven innings. But he’s clearly not the same pitcher he was in his prime.
Of course, prior to Saturday’s comeback against the Braves, the Cubs were struggling to get going offensively. That includes getting shutout by Anibal Sanchez on Friday. Wainwright also has good numbers against most of Chicago’s hitters. The trio of Albert Almora, Javier Baez, and Kyle Schwarber are a combined 1 for 26 against him, while Kris Bryant has been largely contained, just 3 for 14 against Wainwright. The player to watch is Addison Russell, who is 6 for 15 with three doubles. But he’s hitting just .213 on the season.
New Kid on the Block
Tyler Chatwood was supposed to start Sunday’s game, but he’s been pushed back to Monday and will now get his first taste of the Cardinals-Cubs rivalry. Chatwood has also lost his first two starts of the season. Last time out, he allowed five runs in five innings against the Pirates, despite striking out seven. Of course, the Pirates are scoring runs against everybody nowadays. Then again, the Cardinals are also one of the better offensive teams in the National League early in the year.
Despite Dexter Fowler and Matt Carpenter getting off to dreadful starts, the performance of Tommy Pham, Jose Martinez, and Yadier Molina has helped to keep the runs coming for St. Louis. Marcell Ozuna is also starting to come on strong over the last week after a sluggish start, so Chatwood should have his hands full Monday night.
Neither starting pitcher looks trustworthy heading into this game, so the series opener between these rivals could be decided by the bullpens. The Cubs have a slight edge in that department, especially they had Sunday off and should come in fresh. When you are ready to bet on this game – take the Chicago Cubs -135 over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday.