|4:15 PM PT5:15 PM MT6:15 PM CT7:15 PM ET19:15 ET23:15 GMT7:15 4:15 PM MST6:15 PM EST6:45 PM VEN3:15 UAE (+1)6:15 PM CT, September 19, 2019
Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois Attendance: 39,524
Cubs host Cardinals with division on line
St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs
- The Cardinals and Cubs play one another seven times in their final 10 games, with four games at Wrigley Field this weekend followed by three in St. Louis to close the season. The Cubs are 6-0 against the Cardinals at Wrigley in 2019 -- their longest single-season home winning streak in the series since taking the first seven meetings in 2006.
- St. Louis leads the majors with a 2.83 ERA this month and has four shutouts -- no other team has more than two in September.
- Paul Goldschmidt has a team-high 16 RBI this month and leads all of baseball with 17 walks in September in 17 games. He had 15 walks in 50 games in June and July.
- Jack Flaherty, the scheduled starter for the opener, has a 1.05 ERA since the All-Star break, currently besting Bob Gibson's 1.19 second-half ERA in 1968 for the lowest in franchise history dating to the first All-Star Game in 1933 (min. 70 innings pitched after break).
- The Cubs counter with Kyle Hendricks, who has a 1.75 ERA at home. His 2.56 career ERA in 80 games at Wrigley Field trails only Lon Warneke's 2.48 ERA for the lowest at Wrigley since 1920 among pitchers that have made at least 60 starts there.
- Nicholas Castellanos hit his 56th double of the season Wednesday, and now has seven in his last six games to go with eight RBI and nine runs. He is the only Cub in the live-ball era to record at least seven doubles, eight RBI and nine runs in a six-game span, and joins Joey Votto from 2009 as the only NL players to do it in the divisional era.
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The ballpark always buzzes when the Chicago Cubs take on the rival St. Louis Cardinals.
However, this weekend, the intensity of the rivalry could reach another level.
Chicago (82-70) is battling for its postseason life -- and the job security of manager Joe Maddon could depend on the final standings -- as it prepares to welcome St. Louis (85-67) on Thursday night to open a four-game series.
The Cubs trail the Cardinals by three games for first place in the National League Central division with 10 games to play. Meanwhile, Chicago is even with the Milwaukee Brewers (82-70) for the NL's second wild-card berth, meaning those two teams would square off in a game No. 163 for the right to claim the second wild card if the season ended now.
Nothing is certain yet, of course, as the Cubs and Cardinals will play seven times in the final 10 games. Chicago could come out of the weekend with everything from a one-game lead in the division to a seven-game deficit depending on how the next four days shake out.
"It's just so weird how all this is coming together," Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant told the Chicago Sun-Times. "But it's in our hands here. If we do really well against them these last seven games -- obviously with the Pirates in between -- we would set ourselves up pretty good."
St. Louis and Chicago already have met a dozen times this season, with the Cubs going 7-5. That includes a 6-0 mark at Wrigley Field.
Or, from the Cardinals' perspective, an 0-6 mark.
But St. Louis is feeling good after winning two of three games against the Washington Nationals, including a 5-1 victory on Wednesday afternoon in which veteran starter Adam Wainwright outdueled St. Louis-area native Max Scherzer.
Wainwright said he and his teammates would carry their good vibes with them to Chicago.
"Now we go with a little momentum, we beat two very good pitchers (on the Nationals)," Wainwright told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "And now we've got to go up and beat those Cubs in Chicago. We haven't beat 'em all year in Chicago. We're going to beat 'em this time."
The Cardinals will turn to their hottest pitcher, right-hander Jack Flaherty (10-8, 3.05 ERA), who is slated to make his 31st start. He has been excellent since July 7, going 6-3 with a 1.07 ERA in his past 13 starts. Opponents are hitting .152 against him during that stretch.
In eight games (seven starts) against the Cubs in his career, Flaherty is 2-2 with a 3.60 ERA, including 1-1 with a 3.80 ERA in four starts vs. Chicago this year.
The Cubs will counter with their steadiest option, right-hander Kyle Hendricks (11-9, 3.26 ERA). He has won three straight decisions, including a strong effort his last time out as he limited Pittsburgh to one run on seven hits in six innings Saturday.
Hendricks is 8-2 with a 2.74 ERA in 17 career starts against the Cardinals. This season, he is 3-0 with a spectacular 0.39 ERA vs. St. Louis, with only one run allowed in 23 innings.
The Cubs know the pressure is on them to play catch-up. They believe they can do it.
"I think guys are ready to go," Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber told the Sun-Times. "We're in a good spot. We can control where we end up."
--Field Level Media
Updated September 19, 2019