Typically when the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals hook up for a series there’s tons of playoff implications, but both teams enter Thursday’s series opener pondering whether or not to be trade deadline sellers with both teams below .500.
Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals (-120, 9)
For the Cardinals, Miles Mikolas gets the start and will look to improve his numbers at home as his ERA is 4.95 at home compared to a mark of a 3.84 ERA on the road, allowing lots of general contact.
Mikolas is allowing just 0.9 home runs and 1.8 walks per nine innings this season, but with getting just 6.1 strikeouts per nine innings, the ball is in play against him a lot and has resulted in Mikolas having allowed at least three runs in six of his last nine games.
The offense backing up Mikolas has very much relied on home runs this season, ranking seventh in the league in percentage of at-bats that result in a home run while entering Wednesday 11th in the league in runs per game at just over 4.7 runs per game.
Even though the Cardinals have scored a significantly higher amount of runs at home than on the road this season, getting nearly 5.4 runs per game at home compared to 4.2 runs per game on the road, but have a home record of just 22-26 at home with the R bullpen struggles.
For the season, the Cardinals entered Wednesday 23rd in the league in bullpen ERA with just one healthy primary reliever (which excludes Dakota Hudson) that has an ERA below 3.67.
The Cubs offense entered Wednesday’s games ranked 10th among MLB teams in runs per game and ninth in on-base percentage and will look to provide enough support for All-Star Justin Steele.
Steele has been one of the best pitchers at limiting home runs this season, allowing 0.5 home runs and 1.8 walks per nine innings this season while carrying a record of 10-3 with a 2.95 ERA.
The Cubs are 11-6 in Steele’s last 17 starts and with Steele having allowed two runs or fewer in five of his last seven starts, the Cubs will get a series-opening win on Thursday.
The Play: Cubs +100