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Weekend series preview (5/4): Cubs at Cardinals
By: Sam Chase - StatFox
Published: 5/4/2018  at  11:32:00 AM
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Weekend Series Preview: Cubs at Cardinals CHICAGO CUBS (16-12) at ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (17-12)

The Cardinals welcome the Cubs to Busch Stadium for the first time in 2018.

Friday, 8:15 p.m. ET
Line: St. Louis -113, O/U: 8.5
Jose Quintana (3-1) vs. Miles Mikolas (3-0)

Saturday, 2:15 p.m. ET
Tyler Chatwood (2-3) vs. Luke Weaver (2-2)

Sunday, 8:00 p.m. ET
Jon Lester (2-1) vs. Michael Wacha (4-1)

When the Cubs and Cardinals met at Wrigley for the first time this season in April, the teams twice saw games postponed due to wintry conditions. That won't be the case at Busch Stadium this weekend, where temperatures are expected to be in the 70s for a three-game set between Chicago and St. Louis. The longtime rivals split the two games they played last month, and either could take over pole position in the NL Central from the division-leading Brewers with a win in the series opener on Friday. With the Pirates also holding a winning record, the NL Central is baseball's tightest division right now.

Friday night's opener, which will be broadcast on ESPN, matches Chicago's Jose Quintana against St. Louis' Miles Mikolas. Quintana spun a gem in his last start, striking out seven in seven full shutout innings against Milwaukee. Mikolas has been hot, too, pitching seven complete innings in three straight starts and giving up four total earned runs in those 21 innings. Sunday's finale, also a national TV game, pits Jon Lester against Michael Wacha. Lester's off to a good start this year with a 2.73 ERA, and he shut down the Cards last month with six innings of two-hit ball. Wacha has given up no more than two runs in his last three starts, but has only pitched past the sixth inning in one of them.

2B Javier Baez has been a dynamo on offense for the Cubs this year, leading the team with an OWAR of 1.4 and 26 RBIs—nine more than anyone else on the team. 1B Anthony Rizzo has struggled mightily, but homered on both Tuesday and Wednesday this week. St. Louis CF Tommy Pham has been his team's MVP early on, batting .330 on a team whose .235 collective BA is worst in their division.

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