The Cubs (22-15) just completed a 10-game road trip with a 5-5 record that probably should have been better with two rebuilding teams, the Tigers and Pirates, making up most of it. However, they managed to maintain a healthy lead over the rest of the scuffling NL Central.
They now return to Wrigley for a huge five-game series with the team closest to them in the standings, the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cards are about to play four weeks’ worth of games in the next three, so they have a tough row to hoe while the Cubs have a chance to apply a knockout blow to their rivals in the division race.
The Cardinals sit at 14-14 (3.5 games back), which is in keeping with their uneven play. Jack Flaherty is still pitching like an ace and Brad Miller is somehow an offensive force, but the rest of the rotation and the bullpen are open questions. Dexter Fowler had been playing well, but a medication for a stomach ailment landed him on the injured list with a compromised immune system.
The Cubs have their own depth issues thanks to injuries to Tyler Chatwood and José Quintana that leave the back end of the rotation in flux. Adbert Alzolay is expected to start one of Saturday’s games, with Colin Rea probably leading a bullpen start in the other. The return of Kris Bryant will hopefully give some life to a top of the order that has done very little outside of Ian Happ. Here’s to hoping that foul ball to the eye doesn’t have lasting effects.
All things being equal, a Cubs-Cardinals series on Labor Day weekend with first place on the line is something special. Would it be better with fans in the stands? Of course it would, but even in 2020 its exciting.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Friday, September 4 at 7:15pm CT on Marquee
- Saturday, September 5 at 4:15pm CT on MLB Network and Marquee
- Saturday. September 5 following Game 1 on MLB Network and Marquee
- Sunday, September 6 at 6:08pm CT on ESPN
- Monday, September 7 at 3:10pm CT on ESPN and Marquee
|9/5||Adbert Alzolay (prob)||25||R||0.00||0-0||1.47||4.00|
|Colin Rea (?)||30||R||3.75||1-0||3.05||7.00|
|Kwang Hyun Kim||32||L||0.83||2-0||3.55||1.83|
What to Watch For
- Alzolay will start one of Saturday’s games, but the other will likely be a bullpen game as the Cubs don’t want to call up another starter.
- David Ross said he expects Happ to be okay after he fouled a pitch off his right eye.
- Kyle Schwarber and Jason Heyward have both been red-hot on the road trip.
- With a doubleheader Saturday and pitching injuries, look for a possible bullpen game for the Cubs.