National League Central Division rivals are set to meet up on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field as the Chicago Cubs host the St. Louis Cardinals. This is one of the best rivalries in the National League, but both teams have really struggled this MLB season.
The Cardinals come into this game with a record of 43-45, and they have actually won two of their last three games. St. Louis was expected to win the Central Division this season, but they have been a major disappointment.
Chicago was in first place in the division near the end of June, but they have completely fallen apart. The Cubs are also 43-45 on the season, and they are set to begin to unload the roster in the coming weeks.
The Chicago Cubs are -180 in the series opener against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Cardinals at Cubs Preview and Pick: Pitching Killing Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals have dealt with a ton of injuries this season, especially to the starting rotation. St. Louis is turning to Wade LeBlanc to make the start on Friday afternoon, and the veteran is not expected to pitch well this season.
Todays Sports 2.0 Pick of the Day
St. Louis has also really struggled to throw strikes out of the bullpen, and that unit could be featured a ton in this game. It will be up to the Cardinals offense to take control, and that is not something that has worked well for this team.
Nolan Arenado has produced in his first season in a Cardinals uniform, but he just hasn’t gotten a ton of help this season. Arenado is hitting .269 on the year to go along with 17 home runs and 56 RBIs.
The Cardinals have started to show some signs of life in the last week, but they are facing a starting pitcher that has completely shut them down in recent years.
Cardinals at Cubs Preview and Pick: Cubs Offense a Mystery
The Chicago Cubs have one of the best lineups on paper in the National League, but they continue to come up short at the plate. Chicago is at or below league average in several offensive categories, but a big month of May helped to boost the numbers.
Chicago could also be without Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant for this game, as both players are dealing with some injury concerns. The Cubs were shut out on Thursday night, and that has happened far too often this season.
Javier Baez is heating up at the plate, and he leads the Cubs with 21 home runs and 56 RBIs. The Cubs will have to play long ball on Friday to pick up a win.
Kyle Hendricks will be on the mound for the Cubs on Friday afternoon, and that is usually a good thing for Chicago. Hendricks has gone 10-4 with a 3.83 ERA this season, but he is capable of completely taking over a game.
Cardinals at Cubs Preview and Pick: Cubs Continue to Dominate Cardinals
Both the Cardinals and Cubs have been major disappointments this season, but there will still be plenty of excitement surrounding this game. Wrigley Field will have some added energy on Friday afternoon as this game still means a ton to both fan bases.
The Cubs have dominated the season series up to this point, and they have a major edge in the pitching matchup in the series opener. This is a great chance for the Cubs to end the first half of the season on a positive note.
Hendricks will control the Cardinals lineup, and the Cubs bats should put up some numbers in this game. Neither team is going to factor in the playoff race, but the Cubs take control in this matchup.
Bet the Chicago Cubs -1.5 over the St. Louis Cardinals in this NL Central rivalry game.