Cubs vs. Cardinals Series Preview (May 31-June 2): TV and Game Info, Starting Pitchers, Insights
After an off day, the Cubs (31-23) return to division play against the Cardinals (26-28), opening a three-game set at Busch Stadium tonight. Maybe the inevitable boos will spur the starting pitching and give the bullpen some much-needed rest.
The Cubs swept their rivals earlier this season at Wrigley, and the Cards have only won three of their last 10 games. The Cubs aren’t faring much better at just four of their last 10, but the lineup shifting due to injuries and absences hasn’t hurt the offense too much — they are second only to the Dodgers in several NL offensive categories — but spotty starts and a shaky bullpen are taking their toll.
Friday night brings two substantial ERAs to the mound, with right-hander Yu Darvish (5.40) facing off against Miles Mikolas (4.76). Cardinals batters last saw Darvish in May and chased him from the game after four innings. Mikolas’s ERA is better at home (3.15) and he won three of his four starts against the Cubs last season.
Saturday afternoon, José Quintana gets the ball against youngster Jack Flaherty. The Cubs haven’t seen much of the 21-year-old, but most of the Cardinals starting lineup will be familiar with Quintana, having 10 or more at-bats against him.
The series wraps up Sunday afternoon with vets Cole Hamels and Adam Wainwright on the mound. The Cubs need Hamels to eat some innings here; his last two starts have gone only four innings, and he hasn’t gotten a decision in three of five starts.
Game and Broadcast Info
- Friday, May 31 at 7:15 CT on NBC Sports Chicago, Facebook Watch (out-of-market only)
- Saturday, June 1 at 6:15 CT on FOX
- Sunday, June 2 at 1:15 CT on WGN
What to Watch For
- Is Kris Bryant back, or just back? He’s been better than ever this season, especially since upgrading his bat, but bad luck and bad timing have prevented the number of starts the Cubs would like him to have.
- Ben Zobrist’s ongoing absence isn’t great news for the Cubs, between injuries to players like Javy Báez and inconsistent play from starters like Daniel Descalso (who’s slashing .094/.169/.132). It’s tough for the team, to say nothing of the impact on the player, and there’s nobody making out well in this situation.
- Luckily, Kyle Schwarber has been experiencing success in the leadoff spot and David Bote is performing at the plate.