A key National League Central showdown begins Friday, September 4, 2020, when the St. Louis Cardinals (14-14) visit the Chicago Cubs (22-15) in game one of a five game series. Chicago leads the NL Central by 3.5 games over these St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals are one game ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers for that second playoff spot. This game will air live on ESPN+ at 8:15 p.m. EST.
St. Louis visited Cincinnati midweek and game away with a 2-1 series win. The Cardinals won a tight first game 7-5 and then blew the Reds out 16-2 on Tuesday. Cincinnati was able to salvage the series with 4-3 win on Wednesday, thanks to a Joey Votto walkoff single.
Chicago visited the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates are walked away with two wins during their three-game series. The Cubs needed 11innings but came away with an 8-7 win in game one. Chicago followed that up with a comfortable 8-2 win on Tuesday before losing 6-2 in the series finale.
Below is my pick for the Major League Baseball showdown between the St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs. All odds are from SugarHouse Sportsbook.
St. Louis Cardinals (+112) at Chicago Cubs (-130)
Pitching Matchup: Jack Flaherty (2-0, 1.93 ERA, 0.80 WHIP) vs Yu Darvish (6-1, 1.47 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)
Due to all the COVID disruptions, Jack Flaherty has only made four starts this season, one of which was just 1.2 innings, but he has been fantastic. Flaherty has not allowed more than two earned runs in a start and has given up just one run in his last two starts combined. For the season, Flaherty has given up a combined 11 hits and four earned runs in 18.2 innings pitched.
Yu Darvish may be the National League Cy Young front runner as the veteran righty has been lights out all season long. Darvish has made seven starts this season and only allowed more than one earned run in his opening start of 2020. In his last six starts, Darvish has given up a combined 29 hits and four earned runs in 39 innings of work.
What a great pitching matchup to get this series started Friday night.
The Cardinals have the 12th highest batting average (.250) in the majors, the second best on base percentage (.347), eighth worst slugging (.393), and sit 18th with a .740 OPS. St. Louis has not been hitting the long ball as they are dead last with just 25 homers in 2020. The Cardinals are second from the bottom with just 121 RBI’s on the season.
Chicago has the eighth best batting average (.230), 11th best on base percentage (.330), 14th best slugging (.420), and 14th best OPS at .750. The Cubs have the eighth most home runs, with 54, and the 11th most RBI’s with 170.
MLB Predictions: I am going to back the St. Louis Cardinals Friday night.
2020 Picks Record: 42-28