Both clubs have reached a point of desperation in their season ahead of the all-star break, as the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals continue their three-game series on Saturday night. The Cubs won the first game of the series on Friday 10-5 and are favored to win on Saturday with a moneyline of -120. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have a moneyline of +100.
The last few weeks have been an utter disaster for the Cubs, who snapped an 11-game losing streak on Wednesday. Friday’s win was just their second in their last 14 games. That losing streak has dropped them under .500 and 8.5 games back in the NL Central, so they need to get hot again if they hope to get back in the race.
Meanwhile, it’s been a slow and steady demise for St. Louis over the past several weeks. The Cardinals have leveled off a little but are just 3-5 in July. With Friday’s loss, they’ve fallen three games under .500 and are in danger of falling out of the playoff race despite being preseason favorites in the NL Central.
Bring in the Lefty
Korean lefty Kwang Hyun Kim will try to get the Cards on track Saturday. Despite a disappointing 3-5 record, he’s been one of the team’s most reliable starters, posting a 3.39 ERA over 14 starts. He’s also coming off his best start of the season, yielding just three hits over seven scoreless innings against the San Francisco Giants.
He’ll look to do the same on Saturday against a Chicago lineup that has been terrible over the past few weeks. The catch is that the Cubs might finally be coming out of their slump, scoring 28 runs in their last four games despite getting shut out on Thursday. Kris Bryant and Javier Baez have hoped to carry the Cubs out of their slump, although others have started to contribute more over the last few days as well.
The Zach Attack
The Cubs hope that Zach Davies can also contribute on Saturday, as he makes his final start before the all-star break. Davies has been steady over his 18 starts this year, pitching to a 4.28 ERA while going 5-5. Perhaps more importantly, Davies has thrown 11 shutout innings against the Cardinals over his two starts against St. Louis this season.
That’s not surprising, seeing as how limited the Cards have been offensively this year. They’ve been held to two runs or less in four of their last eight games, as several key players continue to have disappointing seasons. Paul Goldschmidt is finally heating up along with Nolan Arenado, but the team’s supporting cast has been far less reliable this year.
It appears that the Chicago lineup is catching fire again, and when the Cubs are hot, they can score a lot of runs against any pitcher. However, it’s equally important that Davies has had a lot of success against the St. Louis lineup this year, especially since the Cards aren’t always that reliable offensively.
With all of that in mind, bet on the Cubs to beat the Cardinals on Saturday night.
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