Cubs vs. Cardinals Series Review: Cubs Cap 6-1 Week with Sweep of Redbirds

It’s really amazing that the 2019 edition of the Cubs/Cardinals rivalry has started out with three straight home series sweeps, right? I haven’t looked anything up to verify its remarkability, but I’m confident at least in stating that it is remarkable.

I’m also confident in saying, and I know you’ll agree with me here, that it feels better to be on the winning end of it. They say that revenge is a dish best served cold, but the Cubs pulled it from the oven and scooped it out piping hot this weekend by repaying their debts only a week after being swept out of St. Louis.

Not only did the Cubs sweep, but they managed to present the appearance of being in control for a large majority of the weekend. Even the Cardinals’ 4-0 1st-inning lead on Saturday was cut in half in the blink of an eye before that game eventually became a blowout in favor of the Cubs. Generally, the series just felt like it belonged to the Cubs. That feeling of inevitability is a positive indicator of how much they’ve turned it around since their not-so-good performance last week.

And the Cardinals? They had pulled themselves back into the thick of the NL Central race by sweeping the Cubs last weekend, but the Cubs did everything they could to push them right back out of it this weekend. The Red Birds now find themselves 5.5 games back of the division co-leading Cubs and Brewers.


Key moments

Cole Hamels was absolutely on one in Friday’s opener. Hamels struck out 10 and didn’t allow a run in eight masterful innings. I’m confident in saying I’m not the only fan that thought he might’ve been able to go all nine. The feat is made even more impressive when you remember that the Cardinals just saw him on Sunday and he largely shut them down in that game as well.

Saturday’s game was a wild one. After falling behind 4-0 in the first inning, Jon Lester locked in and the offense turned on. The Cardinals wouldn’t score again and the Cubs produced a bevy of offensive highlights. Perhaps none stood out more than Victor Caratini‘s go ahead double that stood up as the game-winner.

Sunday gave us another brilliant lecture from everyone’s favorite professor, Kyle Hendricks. In winning his seventh game of the year, Hendricks lowered his ERA to 3.00 and continued to bolster his case for what would be his first All-Star Game appearance.

Hendricks had lots of great moments on Sunday. For a single key moment though, how about Carlos González‘s first Cubs home run? That swing is still as pretty as ever, isn’t it?

The Cubs ultimately wouldn’t need the insurance run, but a shot into the basket never hurt anyone. Speaking of, you should check out Cubs Insider Editor-in-Chief Evan Altman’s new podcast, Into the Basket.

Who’s hot

  • Cubs starting pitchers are pretty locked in right now. Hamels and Hendricks were both unambiguously dominant in their starts, whereas Lester followed up a disastrous four-run 1st by pitching five shutout frames after that. Starting pitching has been pretty good dating back to last weekend’s sweep by the Cardinals, but now the bats have caught up too.
  • Kyle Schwarber has had some ups and downs as the Cubs leadoff hitter, but things are certainly pointing up right now. Schwarber sat out Friday’s opener but went 4-for-7 with a home run and two walks over the next two. Saturday’s game showcased his abilities in a big way, as he was able to cap off a monster 11-pitch at-bat with a game-tying home run.

Who’s not

  • Anthony Rizzo, who you should absolutely still be casting votes for on your All-Star ballots, has hit a bit of a cold streak. Rizzo is hitting .160/.276/.160 over his last seven and recorded just two hits in nine at bats against the Cardinals.
  • Kris Bryant made an appearance in this section last series and he hasn’t done a heck of a lot since. It’s again worth stressing that KB will be just fine, he’s just scuffling a bit lately, slashing .259/.333/.407 over his last seven games. He did rebound somewhat from a rougher first couple of games in this series by going 2-for-4 in Sunday’s contest.
  • In listing both of them here, I suppose the Bryzzo Souvenir Company is cold too. Or is business always booming there even if the company’s namesakes are not?

Bottom line

After last week’s 1-5 performance was finished off by a sweep at the hands of the Cardinals, the Cubs saw themselves go 6-1 this week and capped that off by sweeping the Cardinals right back. At 10 games over .500, it feels like they have recovered nicely from a difficult stretch and has put themselves in an enviable position going forward.

The week to come features a westward swing against strong competition in the Rockies and then the Dodgers. Journeys west can often be trying for the Cubs, so it’s good that they’ve given themselves a bit of a buffer by taking all three against St. Louis.

The team’s next off day is within reach and they’ll be starting their road trip with high spirits and some serious momentum. It’s a themed road trip, by the way, with the team paying homage to Jon Lester. I’d be doing you a disservice not to sign off with some of the highlights.

Oh yeah.

That’s the good stuff, folks.

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