The Cubs get an opportunity for revenge right away as they face off against the Cardinals this weekend in Chicago. The Cubs just saw the Cardinals last weekend in St. Louis and it wasn’t pretty as the Cards swept the Cubs and the Cubs didn’t put up much of a fight. One run was all that the Cubs scored last weekend against the Cardinals, that’s hard to do. The Cubs bounced back against the Pirates however as they took two out of three from the Central Division contender in Pittsburgh, which is also hard to do. The Cardinals were struggling in the second half of the season until they met the Cubs last weekend. Counting that weekend they are 6-1 in their last seven games as they try to chase down the Reds and Pirates who sit above them in the Central Division. It will be interesting to see if the same Cubs team that starts this series will be there to finish it as we roll towards the trade deadline. On paper this matchup couldn’t get anymore lopsided as the Cardinals are number one in the NL in runs scored and the Cubs are last, but the Cubs pitching has been outstanding as of late, they will need to be to win the series. Full preview/breakdown after the jump.
The Cubs try to keep it rolling in St. Louis this weekend amid reports that Ryan Dempster is on the verge of being traded. Because of the trade being imminent, at least per reports, Ryan Dempster has been pulled from his start tomorrow. From the sound of it Casey Coleman will take Dempster’s start tomorrow as he was scratched from his Iowa Cubs start tonight. The report of Dempster being pulled is coming from MLB Network, but has not been confirmed by any of the local media or the Cubs themselves at the time of this preview. So, aside from all of that, the Cubs continue to be the hottest team in baseball since late June. They come into this series with the Cardinals on the heels of a 5-1 home stand, and a series win over the Marlins. Conversely the Cardinals come into this series limping as they are 4-6 in their last 10 games and have fallen into third place in the Central division, five full games out of first. The Cardinals have led the NL in runs scored for quite some time, but they are struggling as of late, only scoring 51 runs in July (14 games), which is good for 12th in the NL over that time. By comparison the Cubs have scored 63 runs in July, good for 6th in the NL. The only reason the Cardinals have kept their head above water this month has been their pitching, they boast a staff ERA of 2.65 in July, the best in the National League. The Cubs have been really good as well with a 3.19 ERA in July, good for 4th in the National League. Full preview/breakdown after the jump.
Nothing says fun like a two game series, it’s rare, but they Cubs have two of them this week, the first being in St. Louis against the Cardinals. This is the third time already that these two teams have faced each other. The Cubs have played the Cardinals tough so far, splitting the six games they have played. The Cubs lost two out of three in St. Louis and took two out of three from St. Louis in Chicago. The Cardinals are licking their wounds after being swept over the weekend by the red-hot Braves. While the Cubs come in after avoiding the sweep in Milwaukee yesterday afternoon. If the Cubs are going to have success in this series they are going to need a solid effort from their starters. The Cubs pen looks tired, and Sveum is having to go to guys that no one in the Northern hemisphere trusts late in games. If the Cubs can get deep outings they should be in a great spot to get a split or even sweep the short two game set. Full preview/breakdown after the jump.