Will the St. Louis Cardinals be able to catch the Chicago Cubs for the NL Central Division title? That may partially be decided this weekend as the teams open a long five-game set on Friday at Wrigley Field. It’s a spectacular pitching matchup and will have a very low total on the MLB odds.

How to Bet Cardinals at Cubs MLB Odds & TV Info

  • When: Friday, 8:15 PM ET
  • Where: Wrigley Field
  • Probable pitchers (away/home): Jack Flaherty/Yu Darvish
  • TV: MLB Extra Innings
  • Stream/gameday audio: ESPN+; https://www.mlb.com/live-stream-games/
  • Opening MLB Lines: TBA

Why Bet on St. Louis?

St. Louis is in the midst of playing 53 games over the final 44 days of the season, which includes 11 doubleheaders (55 games in 45 days, if necessary). Twenty-four of the final 31 Cardinals games this season are against the NL Central Division.

Earlier this week, shortstop Brad Miller had a career game in becoming the fifth Cardinal over the last 75 years with at 4+ hits, two homers and seven RBI in a game, joining George Hendrick (August 25, 1978 at Atlanta), Mark Whiten (Sept. 7, 1993 at Cincinnati – G2), Carlos Beltran (May 2, 2012 vs. Pittsburgh) and Matt Carpenter (2018).

The Cards have activated 1B Rangel Ravelo from the COVID-19 injured list. Ravelo was part of the outbreak of cases with the team last month. He is back to serve as a pinch-hitter/occasional designated hitter. An extra body was needed as outfielder Dexter Fowler was put on the injured list.

A medication Fowler is taking for his stomach leaves his immune system potentially compromised. During a pandemic, the Cards decided not to take any chances. Fowler, 34, was hitting .279/.349/.485 (19-68) with four home runs and 14 RBI this season. The switch-hitting outfielder reached base safely in 19 of his 23 games while co-leading the Cardinals in home runs and ranking 2nd in RBI.

It’s ace Jack Flaherty (2-0, 1.93) on the mound. Flaherty permitted just one run across five frames Saturday in a no-decision versus the Indians. Jose Ramirez homered into the right-field seats as the second batter of the game. Flaherty didn’t give up anything else, though, holding the Tribe to three hits, two walks and a hit by pitch while fanning five batters. The Cards have been careful about Flaherty’s pitch count after their long layoff, which is why he was pulled after throwing 83 pitches in his five innings.

Flaherty makes his 11th career start (12th app.) vs. the Cubs, most against any opponent. He’s 3-2 with a 2.79 ERA against Chicago career.

Why Bet on Chicago?

The Cubs are nearly whole now after earlier this week activating third baseman Kris Bryant and outfielder Steven Souza from the injured list. Bryant, the 2016 NL MVP, has really struggled this season. As for Souza, the Cubs traded for Cameron Maybin on Monday, so playing time for Souza could be limited.

Ian Happ has been arguably the best Cubs hitter this year. On Tuesday, Happ belted his third leadoff homer of the season then delivered a game-winning RBI single in the 11th frame vs. Pittsburgh. He was the first Cub to hit a leadoff blast and record the game-winning RBI in extra innings since Brian McRae did so, May 9, 1997 at San Francisco in a 5-3, 14-inning victory.

Happ’s leadoff blast last night was his 60th career homer, moving him past Augie Galan for the most by a switch-hitter in franchise history. Galan hit 59 homers from 1934-41. Happ is second among major league switch hitters with a .420 OBP this season. In the leadoff spot, Happ has produced a 1.143 OPS, the top mark in the majors among batters with at least 50 plate appearances in the leadoff spot.

It’s ace Yu Darvish (6-1) on the mound in this one. Darvish lowered his ERA to 1.47 with six scoreless frames Saturday in the Cubs’ 3-0 victory over the Reds. Darvish tied a season high in permitting nine baserunners, as the Reds picked up seven hits and a couple walks against the right-hander. However, six of the seven hits were singles, and Darvish helped himself with eight strikeouts. After struggling in his first start of the season, Darvish hasn’t given up more than one run in any of his last six outings.

Darvish faced the Cardinals on Aug. 18 and worked six innings of one-run ball in a win. Darvish wasn’t at his best as he gave up eight hits and issued a walk. This week, Darvish was named the NL Pitcher of the Month. Darvish made five starts and posted a 1.09 ERA and 1.030 WHIP. He walked seven and struck out 40 in 33 innings and the Cubs won all five games. The previous Cub to win a Pitcher of the Month award was Cole Hamels, who got the honor in August 2018.

Expert Prediction

Cubs 3, Cardinals 2

 

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