With only two days left in the regular season, the National League has so many moving parts as to how the postseason will officially take shape. The Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers are in the playoffs, but as a division winner or as a wild card team?
The Rockies are also in, but could be facing the same question while the Dodgers currently hold the second wild card spot, but could inevitably end up as a division winner, a wild card spot or out of the playoffs all together. The Cardinals are currently on the outside looking in, but could ultimately make it in if the next two days play out the right way.
With so much variance, it will make for a very exciting couple days. That excitement finds its way to Chicago on Saturday when the Cardinals (87-73) travel to Wrigley Field to take on the Cubs (94-66). With every game being crucial, the Cardinals will look to Miles Mikolas (17-4, 2.94 ERA) to take the mound against the Cubs’ Cole Hamels (9-11, 3.87 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 pm ET.
The moneyline for Saturday’s game is set at the St. Louis Cardinals +130 and the Chicago Cubs -150.
Cardinals Hope To Keep Playoff Chances Alive
The Cardinals have lost four games in a row and, as a result, have gone from a wild card team to being out of the playoffs (if the season ended today). Hoping to keep their chances alive, the Cards will look to Miles Mikolas. The righty is 17-4 with a 2.94 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and opponents are hitting .247 against him this season. In 192.2 innings, he has 140 strikeouts, 29 walks and has allowed 16 home runs. He has actually won four games in a row, including a 9-2 win over the Giants in his last game, one where he went 7 innings, giving up 1 earned run and striking out 8.
Offensively, the Cardinals will look to Marcell Ozuna to hopefully stay hot. In his last 30 days, he is hitting .309/.359/.564 with a .923 OPS. In that stretch he has 7 home runs, 19 runs batted in and has scored 17 runs. Also good news for Ozuna, he has had success against Cole Hamels in his career. In 29 at bats, the outfielder is hitting .276 with 3 home runs and 5 runs batted in.
Cubs Want To Put Division Away
The Milwaukee Brewers just won’t go away, and with the Brew Crew playing the Detroit Tigers this weekend, the Cubs know they may need to win out in order to secure the division title. To try to take care of Saturday’s game, they will turn to southpaw Cole Hamels.
With the Cubs this season, Hamels is 4-2 with a 2.47 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and opponents are hitting .235 against him. In 69.1 innings with the Cubs, he has 66 strikeouts, 21 walks and has allowed 6 home runs. Both of his losses in a Cubs uniform have come over the last two outings. In those outings, he went a combined 12 innings, giving up 9 runs and striking out 11. The Cubs are hoping he can break his slight skid against the Cardinals on Saturday.
On the offensive side, the Cubs have gotten an MVP-type season out of Javier Baez. On the season, he is hitting .291/.326/.559 with a .885 OPS. He has 34 home runs, 111 runs batted in, scored 98 runs and has 21 stolen bases. If it weren’t for a Milwaukee outfielder named Christian Yelich, he might be the hands-down favorite. For the Cubs, it also helps that Baez has had some success against Mikolas. In 8 at bats Baez is hitting .375 with a home run and 2 runs batted in.
Cardinals Steal One At Wrigley
The Cardinals might not end up making the postseason, but I don’t think they are going to go quietly. Hamels looked amazing in his first several starts for the Cubs, but has shown some kinks in the armor over his last two starts. I think that continues on Saturday and the Cardinals are able to steal one, setting up what would be an amazing day of baseball on Sunday. Especially as the underdog, I am taking the Cardinals in this one at +130.