One of the best rivalries in baseball will renew on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field when the Chicago Cubs host the St. Louis Cardinals. This will be the first game of a three game series, and this is the final three games of the regular season. This series has major playoff implications in the National League.
The Chicago Cubs have clinched a playoff spot in the National League, but are still trying to lock up the National League Central division. The Cubs hold a slim one game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers heading into this weekend series. The Cardinals trail the Los Angeles Dodgers by one game for the final playoff spot in the National League. The Chicago Cubs are -165 over the Cardinals in this game.
Wainwright Hopes To Keep Cards Alive
Veteran pitcher Adam Wainwright will make the start for the Cardinals in the series opener. Wainwright is 2-3 with a 4.08 earned run average this season, but will be making just his eighth start of the season. The right-hander is 1-0 this month but has given up eight earned runs in 17 innings in his three starts since being activated from the disabled list. The Cardinals need their leader to deliver a big performance in this game.
Jose Martinez and Marcell Ozuna have been leading the Cardinals offense in September. Martinez brings a .306 batting average and leads the team with 160 hits. Marcell Ozuna has blasted 23 home runs and leads the team with 87 runs batted in. Both players will need to have big games in the series opener.
Hendricks Finding His Form
Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks has pitched in a lot of big games in his Cubs career, and this is another one. Hendricks is 13-11 this season with a 3.49 earned run average, but has pitched better of late. He has given up just six earned runs over his last six starts and has gone 4-1 during that stretch. He has made three starts against the Cardinals this season, and the Cubs have won all of those games.
Javier Baez and Ben Zobrist have led the Cubs offense this season. Baez leads the National League with 111 runs batted in and has also belted 34 home runs this season. Zobrist ranks in the top five in the National League in hitting, with a .310 batting average. The Cubs hope that they can take advantage of an aging Wainwright in this game.
Cubs Win Crucial Game
The Cardinals come into this series having been swept by the Milwaukee Brewers, and their task won’t get any easier against the Cubs. St. Louis has been struggling to find consistent offense of late, and it might cost them a spot in the playoffs. The Cardinals are in desperate need of a strong performance from Wainwright on Friday afternoon.
The Chicago Cubs know that they can win the Central division with a sweep over the Cardinals this weekend. St. Louis won’t make it easy on the Cubs, but Chicago has the offense to get the job done. Look for the Cubs bats to break this one open, and win the series opener. Bet the Chicago Cubs -165 over the St. Louis Cardinals.
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