For the first time in 2018, the Cardinals and Cubs will meet together for a series at Wrigley Field. The series was scheduled to begin on Monday evening, but unseasonable weather - snow flurries and projected wind chills in the 20s - changed that plan.
Now, these two teams will play a doubleheader on July 21 and settle for a two-game series this week - weather permitting, of course.
I chatted with Al Yellon of Bleed Cubbie Blue to collaborate on his series preview.
On Tuesday, the mound matchup will feature Tyler Chatwood and Adam Wainwright. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM Central time. Chatwood joined the Cubs on a free-agent deal this offseason after spending six seasons with the Rockies. Chatwood has made two starts this season for the Cubs, the most recent against the Pirates. In that outing, Chatwood allowed five earned runs over as many innings. Yadier Molina is 2-for-5 with a double against Chatwood in his career, possessing the only extra-base hit the Cardinals’ offense has against Chicago’s new starter.
Wainwright is set to make his 19th career start on the North Side. Wainwright’s last start came against the Brewers on 4/11, and the 36-year-old pitched well. Across seven innings, Wainwright limited Milwaukee to three runs and punched out four batters. Anthony Rizzo is expected to be activated off the disabled list prior to the series opener after dealing with back stiffness. In his lifetime against Wainwright, Rizzo is 11-for-43 with a double, a home run, and five runs batted in.
Wednesday’s contest is set to begin at 1:20 PM Central time and consist of Jon Lester toeing the rubber for the Cubs and Luke Weaver for the Cardinals. Lester is set to make his fourth start of the year. Lester faced the Pirates his last time out and surrendered four earned runs on seven hits (including a home run) in five innings. Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter has struggled off the left-handed Lester in his career, batting just .147 (5-for-34) with 11 punchouts.
Weaver will be starting his fourth game of the season and the second of his career against the Cubs. Between his big-league debut back in 2016 and a rough outing last September, Weaver has a (small-sample size alert!) 12.86 ERA against the Cubs in his career, although he seems poised to reverse that trend on Wednesday. This year, batters are hitting .197 against Weaver with just one long ball in 17 1⁄3 innings.
- Jedd Gyorko and Luke Gregerson were activated off the disabled list on Monday. To correspond with the moves, Yairo Munoz and Mike Mayers were optioned to Triple-A Memphis.