In a huge National League Central battle – the Chicago Cubs will host the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday.
One of the most historic rivalries will have to wait one more day. After being cancelled on Monday due to a mixture of precipitation and temperatures that would have seen wind chills in the 20’s at game time, the start of the series pushes back a day. On Tuesday, the St. Louis Cardinals (9-7) will travel to the friendly confines of Wrigley Field to take on the Chicago Cubs (7-7) in the N.L. Central divisional rivalry.
The first pitch is scheduled for 8:05 pm ET. The Cardinals will send righty, Adam Wainwright (0-2, 5.06 ERA), to the bump to take on the Cubs’ Tyler Chatwood (0-2, 4.91 ERA).
Unfortunately, the weather does not seem much better Tuesday night. While there is currently little chance of precipitation in the forecast, the real feel will still be around 32 degrees at first pitch. While I think this game will be played, generally colder temperatures tend to favor pitching over offense. This may be good news for two pitchers who have ERA’s that hover around 5.
The moneyline for the game is set at the St. Louis Cardinals +114 and the Chicago Cubs at -124. The over/under on total runs scored is set at 8.5.
The St. Louis Cardinals hope to keep their hot play going as they carry a four game winning streak into the game on Tuesday. Over the weekend, the Cardinals swept all four games in a series with the Cincinnati Reds. In the four games the Cardinals averaged over 6 runs per game (thanks in large part to a 13-run outburst last Thursday) and held the Reds to an average of 2.5 runs per game. While the Cubs have been scuffling early on, they still pose a much more challenging matchup than the Reds at this point, so they will need a good start from Adam Wainwright.
Wainwright took the loss in his last outing against the Milwaukee Brewers last Wednesday. In that game, he pitched pretty well, throwing a quality start of 7 innings, giving up 3 runs on 8 hits with no walks and 4 strikeouts. The biggest thing that hurt him in that game was the long ball, as he gave up home runs to both Hernan Perez and Eric Thames. He will be looking for his first win of the season Tuesday night.
Offensively, the Cardinals have been getting solid production from first baseman, Jose Martinez. Originally, it was a question as to whether Martinez would even start the season with the Cardinals, but all he has done is hit through the first 16 games. He is hitting .364 (20 for 55) with 3 home runs and 15 runs batted in.
The last time that the Cubs played (they have already had four games postponed), they found themselves trailing to the Atlanta Braves by 5 in the 8th inning (after having been down by 8 earlier in the game). What came next were 13 hitters being sent to the plate and a 14-10 win. While the comeback was a lot less about the hitters finally coming through and a lot more about the Braves struggling with the weather conditions, it still has to be encouraging for the Cubs.
Tyler Chatwood will take the hill for the Cubs. The last time he pitched he got shelled for 5 runs on 9 hits in only 5 innings in a 8-5 loss to the Pirates last Tuesday. Chatwood, who was signed by the Cubs in the offseason, is still looking for his first victory of the season.
Offensively, the Cubs are likely to get a big boost in the form of first baseman, Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo has been on the disabled list with back issues, but is set to make his return in the game Tuesday. Aside from Rizzo, Kris Bryant has been the most consistent hitter for the Cubs thus far this season. He is hitting .352 (19 for 54) with 2 home runs, 8 runs batted in and 10 walks versus 8 strikeouts. Ben Zobrist, who struggled last year, has also started off hot hitting .326 with 6 runs and 7 runs batted in.
Despite cold weather conditions, the lack of dominant pitching makes me think that runs will still be scored. If looking solely at offense firepower, I give the edge to the Cubs, especially with the return of Anthony Rizzo. Either pitcher might be due for a gem, but I tend to lean with the Cubs in this one. Take the Cubs -124.