Cubs vs Cards: Series Thread (Games 35-37)
The Cubs staged multiple comebacks but came up just short of a sweep against the Marlins. Next they greet an underperforming Cardinals team for three games at Wrigley. The Cards just ended an eight-game skid and must be desperate to claw their way back into the division race. Former Cubs Willson Contreras might be at the center if the drama this weekend as his defensive role is under discussion. See below for matchups.
Game 35, Monday, May 9, 6:40 pm central
STL: RHP Mile Mikolas (1-1, 5.79 ERA)
CHC: RHP Marcus Stroman (2-2, 2.18 ERA)
This will be the 34-year-old Mikolas's eighth start of the season. His opponents have been squaring him up for a 31.3% line drive rate and taken him deep on 15.9% of fly balls. Mikolas has improved of late, putting up a 3.13 ERA in his last four starts despite a ground ball percentage that remains low.
Stroman turned in another strong start on May 3, going 6 and allowing one earned runs to the Nationals. His last win came back on April 7.
Game 36, Tuesday, May 10, 6:40 pm central
STL: RHP Jack Flaherty (2-4, 6.29 ERA)
CHC: RHP Jameson Taillon (0-2. 5.29 ERA)
After posting an impressive 2019 and serving as the Opening Day starter in 2020, Flaherty has struggled to stay healthy. He pitched 78.1 innings and 36.0 innings in 2021 and 2022 respectively. He's fighting a bloated walk rate so far, matching a trend that began for him in 2022.
Taillon returned to action on May 4, going three innings before passing the baton to Assad. Ross will have a needle to thread between helping Taillon build back up and sparing a bullpen that covered eight of Sunday's fourteen innings.
Game 37, Wednesday, May 11, 6:40 pm central
STL: LHP Jordan Montgomery (2-4, 3.29 ERA)
CHC: LHP Justin Steele (5-0, 1.45 ERA)
Montgomery made only 17 MLB starts from 2018-2020, but showed the capacity to be a solid mid-rotation starter in the last two years. He's the only Cardinals starter meeting--or exceeding--expectations so far in 2023.
Steele continued his superb 2023 work by allowing one earned run in seven innings last time out. He picked up the win against the Marlins and is looking to continue an undefeated streak to start the season.