Chicago Cubs @ St. Louis Cardinals

Cardinals -111

Games Total: 8.5


Game Play Predictions

Chicago Cubs

  • This game could feature an awful lot of contact. The Cubs are 22nd in MLB in strikeout rate at 21.2 percent, while Cardinals starting pitcher Miles Mikolas has the ninth lowest strikeout rate in baseball among qualified starters.
  • Mikolas’s success this season has mostly been due to limiting home runs, as only Trevor Bauer , Aaron Nola and Jacob deGrom have a lower HR/9 than Mikolas’s 0.58.
  • In that regard, he matches up well with the Cubs, who rank 21st in home runs this season.
  • One of the reasons Mikolas has managed to keep the ball in the yard as much as he has is his 50.4 percent groundball rate, which ranks ninth among qualified starters.
  • The Cubs have the fourth highest walk rate in baseball at 9.8 percent, but they will be hard-pressed to walk much against Mikolas, whose 4.4 percent walk rate is the third lowest among qualified starters.
  • The Cubs just faced Mikolas last week, and he allowed just two earned runs on six hits and two walks with six strikeouts in 5.0 innings.
  • The Cubs have been led by Anthony Rizzo and Javier Báez of late. Rizzo is 13-for-30 over the last seven days and he is 5-for-9 with two home runs over his last two games.
  • Javier Báez is 10-for-26 with just four strikeouts over the last seven days.
  • The Cubs have been solid on the road all season, with a .748 OPS away from Wrigley Field, good for seventh in MLB.
  • The Cubs are batting .266/.346/.427 against right-handed pitchers this season, ranking second, first and eighth in MLB respectively.
  • The Cubs have been known has a free-swinging team, but they have reined it in a bit this year. They rank 10th in swing percentage at 46.9 percent.
  • If the Cubs can keep the game close, they could take advantage of the Cardinals’ retooled bullpen after they designated Greg Holland and Tyler Lyons for assignment, traded Sam Tuivailala and placed Brett Cecil on the disabled list.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • The Cardinals face left-handed José Quintana , who looks like the Cubs’ second-best starter on the surface but whose underlying numbers are a bit troubling.
  • Quintana’s 10.9 percent walk rate is the seventh highest in baseball and by far the highest of Quintana’s career. His previous career-high was 7.7 percent last season.
  • As you might expect from his walk rate, Quintana is throwing fewer pitches in the strike zone than in years past. His 43.9 percent zone rate is his lowest since 2013.
  • What makes the walk rate more troubling is Quintana’s strikeout rate is 20.7 percent, down from 26.2 percent in 2017.
  • Opponents have seemingly adjusted by swinging at just 41.8 percent of Quintana’s pitches and just 61.1 percent of pitches in the strike zone. His previous career lows were 43.8 percent and 62.5 percent, both set in 2017.
  • Quintana has been getting by with a career-low .277 BABIP, and while some of that can probably be attributed to his defense, there is probably a decent among of luck involved as well.
  • Quintana has also been the beneficiary of a career-high on base percentage of 77.4 percent. It is probably safe to assume Quintana’s luck will run out at some point.
  • One other interesting note on Quintana: Opposing hitters are going the opposite way far more than ever before. Quintana has allowed 32.7 percent of contact to go the opposite way; his previous career-high was 25.9 percent in 2016.
  • Quintana’s 37.6 percent hard contact percentage is also a career-high, and it is fair to wonder if those numbers are related.
  • Quintana faced St. Louis just last week, and as he has all season, he worked around his wildness, allowing just two earned runs on six hits, four walks and six strikeouts in 7.0 innings.
  • Matt Carpenter has cooled a bit since destroying the Cubs last week, going 4-for-21 over his last five games. That being said, he still has six walks and six strikeouts over his last seven games, and it would probably be an upset if he doesn’t walk at least once Saturday.
  • Yadier Molina , who always seems to kill the Cubs, is on fire right now. Molina is 10-for-23 during his current five-game hitting streak.
  • Paul DeJong appears to be heating up as well, going 5-for-12 with a homer during his three-game hitting streak.
  • Dexter Fowler is 7-for-16 with six walks, two strikeouts and 12 total bases in his career against José Quintana .
  • Home field has not been much of an advantage for the Cardinals this season. They rank 25th with a .696 OPS at home.