The Cubs (17-17) returned home from a very disappointing East Coast road trip and took two of three from the Marlins at Wrigley Field this weekend. A painfully close 14-inning loss on Sunday ended the series on a sour note and prevented a series sweep of Miami. Now they welcome their bitter rivals from St. Louis, who are off to a nightmarish start to the 2023 season.
The Cardinals (11-24) have absolutely face-planted out of the gate and are a whopping 13 games under .500. They just announced on Saturday that Willson Contreras, signed away from the Cubs this winter for five years and $87.5 million, will stop catching indefinitely and will serve as a DH or left fielder due to his poor defensive performance behind the plate.
Whether Contreras is to blame or something else is the culprit, the pitching in a Gateway City has been atrocious through 35 games. The starting staff has been particularly bad with a 5.33 aggregate ERA. The bullpen has been better (3.88 ERA), though the Cards have blown nine saves and struggled during a recent eight-game losing streak.
The Cardinals’ pitching was seen as a potential weak spot before the season, but the issues with the offense have come as a total shock. Nolan Arenado has gotten off to a dreadful start and actually has a negative WAR through the first five weeks of the season. The lineup-wide malaise has effected everyone except Paul Goldschmidt, who has seven home runs and a .991 OPS.
St. Louis is a total mess at the moment, but that does not mean the Cubs should take them lightly. Despite their total meltdown this is still a talented roster, especially the hitters, and they could easily get hot.
That being said, Chicago has a chance to bury the Red Birds right here, right now. History has demonstrated that letting St. Louis hang around is always a bad move. To paraphrase the musical Hamilton, the Cubs can’t throw away their shot here.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Monday, May 8 at 6:40pm CT on MLB Network (out of market only) and Marquee.
- Tuesday, May 9 at 6:40pm CT on Marquee.
- Wednesday, May 10 at 6:40pm CT on MLB Network (out of market only) and Marquee.
What to Watch For
- Matt Mervis had four singles in his first series in Chicago. The next step for the kid is to start tapping into his tremendous power.
- Steele has been one of the best pitchers in baseball through the start of the season.
- Miguel Amaya has gotten tons of praise from his pitchers for his work behind the plate. He has looked excellent as a hitter as well.
- Contreras plays his first game as an opposing player at Wrigley Field Monday. He has a .734 OPS and two home runs in the early going.