Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals Pick
Chicago Cubs (31-24) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (28-28)
When: 8 PM, Saturday, June 1, 2019
Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Opening Line: CHC +125/STL -135 (5Dimes)
Runline: Cubs +1.5/Cards -1.5
Starting Pitchers: Jose Quintana (4-4, 3.73 ERA, 1.32 WHIP) vs. Jack Flaherty (4-3, 3.77 ERA, 1.17 WHIP)
The boos were out in full force in the opener of this series, as St. Louis fans wasted no time letting Chicago’s Kris Bryant know what they thought of his comments about their “boring” city. Of course, the Cubs’ third baseman was just having some fun during the offseason when he said it, but nobody has ever accused fans of being rational and nuanced, especially when a rival is involved. The boos might have bothered Bryant a bit, as he went 1-for-5 and fanned twice in a 2-1 loss to the Cardinals in the series opener.
More concerning to the Cubs than Bryant getting booed is the fact that Chicago has only scored three runs in its past 22 innings at the plate, going back to the sixth inning on Wednesday at Houston. Granted, some of this had to do with the fact that the Cubs were facing the Astros and then the Cardinals, but it’s still the kind of problem that manager Joe Maddon would be better off without. Fielding percentage has killed the Cubs this year, but their potent offense has made up for that deficiency. If the Cubs’ bats go south, it could open the door for the Cardinals and Brewers to make a push in the NL Central.
Three or Four?
That’s the question. What’s the answer? Jack Flaherty’s numbers in the hit column. Usually, it’s four in the hit column and three or less in the runs column. In eight of Flaherty’s past nine starts, the opposition has managed three hits on four occasions and four hits on the other four instances. In his past six starts, he’s held the opposition to three runs or less, and he hasn’t been victimized by the big fly like other pitchers. He’s only given up two home runs in May in five starts, and he gave the Cardinals a solid performance the last time he faced the Cubs, holding them to three runs on four hits in 5.2 innings.
The problem was that the Cardinals gave him no support, getting shut out by the Cubs. In fact, a lack of support has regularly been Flaherty’s problem. The Cardinals are just 1-4 in May with him on the mound, but there’s nothing he’s done wrong during that stretch to earn that record. In his most recent start, the Cardinals took a loss despite Flaherty shutting out the Braves. Eventually, the Cardinals will give Flaherty the support he needs, but for the moment, he’s doing all he can in giving his team a chance to win.
While Flaherty has been a model of consistency for the Cardinals, Quintana has been nothing short of an amusement park ride for the Cubs. When he’s on, he’s as good as you could hope for from your pitcher, holding the opposition to three runs or less in eight of 10 starts. But when things go wrong, they can go south in a hurry. In his most recent start against Cincinnati, Quintana got shelled, giving up 12 hits and allowing six runs in a 10-2 loss. Against the Cardinals, however, he was solid, beating them 13-5 at Wrigley on May 5.
Everything Red Sox-Yankees is in the American League, Cubs-Cardinals is for the National League. These teams have been together forever, and there aren’t many better atmospheres than seeing these teams play in either Chicago or St. Louis. Last year was as tight as it got between the teams, with the Cardinals eking out a 10-9 series win over their northern rivals. This time, the home team has owned this matchup, as the Cubs swept the Cardinals at Wrigley, while Chicago fell in the series opener in their first trip to St. Louis. This matchup is simply one of the best.
- The Cubs have lost four of their past five.
- The Cubs are 1-5 in their past six against the NL Central.
- The Cardinals are 1-7 in their past eight games following a win.
- The Cardinals are 2-6 in their past eight against the NL Central
- The over is 6-1 in the Cubs’ previous seven games against a right-handed starter.
- The under is 5-0 in the past five meetings in St. Louis.
- The Cubs are 1-4 in their past five games in St. Louis.
The evening should be perfect for baseball, with the temperature at 64 degrees.
The Cubs have been slumping, but so have the Cardinals. However, the Cardinals are at home, and the home team has tended to dominate this matchup as of late. Flaherty has pitched well at Busch Stadium, and the Cubs haven’t yet shown that they can get their offense going. Against a pitcher that’s been pretty stingy as of late, that’s a bad sign for Chicago. I’ll go with St. Louis to get itself back above .500.