Fresh off of three straight losses to the Brewers, the Cubs welcome the Cardinals to Wrigley for five games in three days. Two of those are makeups of the three games lost in St. Louis when the Cards were dealing with a COVID outbreak, with the other to be played in September. The rotation was already going to need a little help, but Tyler Chatwood going to the IL makes the situation even more tenuous.
The good news is that the Cubs need eight fewer innings they they would have under normal circumstances, since the twin bills are of the 7-inning variety. If all goes well, they’ll have a starter or two go the distance on Monday and/or Wednesday to save preserve the bullpen and keep the rotation on somewhat of a schedule.
The Cardinals have played only eight games on the season after squaring off with the White Sox three times over the weekend. They were waxed in the finale on Sunday after riding four-run frames in each of the first two games to sweep the doubleheader on Saturday. It’s difficult to say what the Cards really are because they’re playing with so many replacement players and had such a long layoff, but it’s safe to say they’ve still got that familiar voodoo working.
This is honestly such a weird setup that it’s hard to preview appropriately and I’m not sure it’s fair to blow smoke here. The Cubs need to get better production from the top of the order, as Kris Bryant and Javy Báez simply haven’t looked like themselves to this point. Javy has been particularly lost and is currently mired in an 0-for-17 slump with eight strikeouts.
Given how much pressure the pitching staff will be under, the offense could really do David Ross some favors by hanging crooked numbers. Against whom they’ll be able to do that isn’t entirely clear yet since the pitchers haven’t been announced for the second halves of the doubleheaders, but the Cubs face two relatively familiar faces on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The opener is against lefty Kwang Hyun Kim, who’s pitched just one MLB inning after a 12-year career in South Korea. If the Cubs can gain a little momentum early against the southpaw’s fastball/slider combo, perhaps they can ride that wave through through the rest of the series. Again, it’s so difficult to predict what can happen in these seven-inning sets.
Yu Darvish is on schedule to start Tuesday with Alec Mills taking one of Wednesday’s games, but none of that is official as of post time. We’ll keep this updated as we learn more about the Cubs’ options for those and other starts.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Monday, August 17 at 4:15pm CT on Marquee
- Monday, August 17 following Game 1 on Marquee
- Tuesday, August 18 at 7:15pm CT on Marquee and FS1
- Wednesday, August 19 at 1:20pm CT on Marquee
- Wednesday, August 19 following Game 1 on Marquee
|Kwang Hyun Kim||32||L||9.00||0-0||3.14||0.00|
|8/18||Yu Darvish (prob.)||34||R||1.88||3-1||2.18||6.75|
|Daniel Ponce de Leon||28||R||6.75||0-1||5.39||2.67|
|8/19||Alec Mills (prob.)||28||R||2.84||2-1||4.14||2.33|
What to Watch For
- Javy is due for a big game or three.
- We should see at least one MLB debut, or at least a Cubs debut, as the South Bend site provides support.
- Starters may be forced to go a little longer in order to save the bullpen, something we saw from Jon Lester on Sunday.
- Craig Kimbrel has looked better over his last two outings, but both came with the Cubs losing. He may get more of a closer-type appearance over the next few days.
- Can the Cubs take advantage of a depleted Cards roster?
- José Quintana pitched into the 4th inning of a simulated start Sunday and is not considered an option for this series.