All of the hype coming into this season was about how good the Chicago Cubs will be and how they are the odds on favorite to win the World Series this year.
And accordingly, the Cubs showed that they deserve the hype by starting the season with an MLB best 8-1 record. Starting today, the St. Louis Cardinals will open a three game series with the Cubs to prove to the baseball world that they are still the “King of the Hill” in the NL Central.
The Cardinals head into this series after winning their last two series at Busch Stadium against the Milwaukee Brewers and the Cincinnati Reds. After a rough Opening Day weekend sweep against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Cardinals have found their footing and are now 7-5, winning 7 out of their last 9 games. Though they have played a weak schedule thus far, the offensive has been lively scoring at least 4 runs in each of their last 9 games. The Cardinals lead the league right now with 85 runs scored.
The Cubs enter today’s game losing two out of their last three games against the Colorado Rockies. Currently, they still have the best record in baseball at 9-3.
There are a lot of reasons to be excited and to watch every inning of this series:
First, in today’s pitching matchup, John Lackey will be facing up against Mike Leake in game one. Last season, Lackey was one of the best pitchers in the Cardinal’s rotation. However, in the offseason, he signed an offseason contract with the Cubs. As a result, the Cardinals signed Leake to fill the void in their rotation. This will be an exciting pitching matchup. Public enemy number one versus his replacement. Though on paper Lackey may be the better pitcher, Leake is definitely going to relish his opportunity to prove himself.
Second, there will, more than likely, be a lot of runs scored in this series. Currently, the Cardinals (85) and the Cubs (71) are numbers one and two respectively in runs scored in the league. Adding onto that fact, the teams will send out their third, fourth, and fifth pitchers for this series. The Cubs will pitch Lackey, Jason Hammel, and Kyle Hendricks. The Cardinals will counter with Leake, Jaime Garcia, and Carlos Martinez. The Cardinals will definitely have the pitching advantage in games two and three of this series. This should definitely be a high scoring series with the way the pitching matchups worked out.
Third, Jason Heyward will be playing against the Cardinals for the first time as a member of the Cubs. In the offseason, Heyward turned down an extension offer from the Cardinals and signed with the Cubs like Lackey. It will be interesting to see how he performs in this series because the crowd will definitely let him hear it at every at-bat.
This will definitely be an important series for both teams. We are currently leaving the early portion of the schedule and now are heading into the summer stretch of the season. Both the Cubs and the Cardinals want to prove to the rest of the NL Central that they are the top dog in this division. This three game series will have a huge impact on the winning team’s confident.
Get excited Cardinals fans. This should be a great series.