The Cubs and Cardinals have taken turns sweeping each other out of their respective cities, so I think we can reasonably expect more of the same in this series. Okay, maybe that’s not reasonable, but the Cubs would at least do well to cook up a little meatloaf. Or, as they call it in St. Louis…well, they probably still call it meatloaf, they just cut it longways or cover it with nasty cheese.
After using Kyle Schwarber in the top spot for the last few weeks, Joe Maddon has gone back to the Greatest Leadoff Hitter of All Time. Anthony Rizzo bats and plays first, Kris Bryant is at third, and Carlos González plays left.
Javy Báez cleans up at short, followed by Jason Heyward in right and Victor Caratini behind the plate. David Bote is at second and Albert Almora Jr. is in center, marking the first time he’s started alongside CarGo. That’s largely about giving Schwarber a day off, but it’s also good to see Almora getting another shot against a righty.
Going for the Cardinals is Miles Mikolas, who faced the Cubs last Friday as well. He did what he has been wont to do during his time in St. Louis, dominating the Cubs by throwing pitcher’s strikes and generating poor contact. The Cubs only struck out three times, but they got nothing going because they only walked twice while beating 60% of their contact into the ground.
Mikolas went a little heavier on the slider in that last outing, though not to a great degree. He was also throwing with more velocity across all his offerings, which could also be a matter of getting into the season and picking up the pace. Whatever the case, he was effective over seven innings and was able to avoid big hits.
Mikolas has allowed multiple homers in four starts, but he big fly doesn’t always hurt him because of the limited walks. Still, a longball or two allows the offense to build a little momentum and you get the sense that the early innings will tell the story in this one. If the Cubs can jump on a mistake or two out of the gate, they can set the tone and finally get over on Mikolas.
Cole Hamels was money against the Cardinals this past Sunday, besting Adam Wainwright in every way except where it really counted. If the lefty can repeat that performance or even come near it, the Cubs should be able to secure him the win they failed to deliver on my birthday.
First pitch from Wrigley is set for 1:20pm CT and can be seen on NBC Sports Chicago or MLB Network (out-of-market), with 670 The Score on the radio coverage.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 7, 2019