The Cardinals lost to the Cubs on Friday, but they enter Saturday’s game 8-2 over their last 10 games. Trade rumors don’t seem to be bothering St. Louis much, but will the Cubs’ offense cause more problems? Miles Mikolas is on the mound for the Cardinals, while the Cubs will have an opener for Drew Smyly. The Cardinals are slight road favorites at -115 on the moneyline.
Let’s make predictions for Saturday afternoon’s game and break down why the Cardinals should be able to bounce back.
Cardinals vs. Cubs Prediction
The Cubs have the hottest hitter in this game thanks to Cody Bellinger, but the Cardinals have the more complete lineup that is well positioned to get it done against Smyly and the Chicago bullpen.
St. Louis is 8-2 over its last 10 games, with the pitching finally catching up a bit to an offense that doesn’t have many glaring weaknesses. Nolan Gorman is starting to hit like he did earlier in the season, while both Jordan Walker and Brendan Donovan continue to show plenty at the plate.
This is going to be a difficult task for Smyly, who does get to avoid the top of the Cardinals order once but has had so much trouble of late that it doesn’t seem likely that will save him.
Mikolas doesn’t walk many batters and can give the Cardinals length, limiting bullpen use and setting up St. Louis for another road victory.
Cardinals vs. Cubs Prediction: Cardinals Moneyline (-115)
Cardinals vs. Cubs Odds
The Cardinals enter as slight road favorites at -115 on the moneyline. The over/under is 9.5 runs.
The Cubs have been the better team by a small margin this season, but recent success by the Cardinals plus the uncertainty of Chicago’s pitching plans make St. Louis the rightful favorite here.
Cardinals vs. Cubs Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Cardinals vs. Cubs.
Cody Bellinger vs. Miles Mikolas
For about three weeks now, the key to slowing down the Cubs has been slowing down Cody Bellinger. The Cardinals ran into a buzzsaw on Friday, as Bellinger stayed hot with three hits including a home run. Since the start of July, Bellinger is hitting .462 with six home runs. He has multiple hits in six of his last eight games. Can Mikolas quiet his bat?
You would think a pitcher who thrives on strikeouts would have the best chance against Bellinger, and that’s certainly not what Mikolas is. At the same time, Bellinger just hasn’t been striking out much in July to begin with. Mikolas’ home run and walk rate are both strong this season, so if he can limit Bellinger to cheaper hits than home runs, the Cardinals will be positioned well.
Cardinals’ Power Hitters vs. Drew Smyly
Drew Smyly has traditionally allowed a high number of home runs in his career, and that’s been especially true of late. The journeyman has given up five home runs in his last 18 innings and has allowed 1.5 home runs per nine innings over his career. With a 9.87 ERA over his last four starts, the Cubs are trying something new and bringing Smyly in after Michael Fulmer opens the game.
Will it work? It does get Smyly one fewer matchup with Paul Goldschmidt and potentially Nolan Arenado. Goldschmidt also doesn’t hit lefties as well as right-handers. The Cardinals’ lineup is deep enough, however, that Smyly will be in trouble if he makes as many mistakes as he has in recent outings. Nolan Gorman and Brendan Donovan have been hitting very well lately, while Paul DeJong is one of a few bats who can hurt Smyly in the power department.
Cardinals vs. Cubs Starting Lineups
Cardinals Starting Lineup
DH Brendan Donovan L
1B Paul Goldschmidt
LF Lars Nootbaar L
3B Nolan Arenado R
C Willson Contreras R
LF Tyler O’Neill R
2B Nolan Gorman L
RF Jordan Walker R
SS Paul DeJong R
Cubs Starting Lineup
CF Mike Tauchman L
SS Nico Hoerner R
LF Ian Happ S
1B Cody Bellinger L
DH Seiya Suzuki R
2B Christopher Morel R
CF Yan Gomes R
DH Trey Mancini R
3B Miles Mastrobuoni L