NLDS Preview: Cubs vs. Cardinals Part Two

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Oct 7, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher

Jake Arrieta

(49) throws against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Wild Card playoff baseball game at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Starter #3

Cardinals: Michael Wacha – We all know about Wacha’s struggles in the second half. Wacha has seen a rise in walks, home runs, and struck out less and less as the second half went on. I am not an expert and I tell you that all of the time, but to me Wacha looks tired. He only threw a total of 107 innings last season and this season Wacha is already over 181 innings pitched. If the Cards advance further into the postseason that number will climb higher and higher and will wind up likely being a concern for the Cardinals going into 2016. 

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  • Cubs: Jake Arrieta – Look, Arrieta is really really good, but so is Clayton Kershaw and we all know his luck against the Cardinals. Arrieta finished the season 22-6 with a sparkling ERA 1.77, and because he plays for the “lovable losers Cubs” he will win the NL Cy Young over the Dodgers’ Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw. Arrieta was worth a dominant 7.3 fWAR this year via Fangraphs, which is just nuts. Against the Cardinals this season, Arrieta went 2-1 with a 2.42 ERA in four starts, striking out 25 and giving up only eight total runs (seven earned) in the 26 innings pitched.

    Advantage: Cubs – Wow, this is quite the intriguing matchup here. If Wacha channels his efforts from the 2013 NLDS, this will be a pitchers duel. However, with Wacha’s recent struggles (especially against the Cubs) it will be interesting to see how he does here. Wacha, only has one good start against the Cubs, in four starts this year (June 27 6 IP 1 ER, 5K, 2 BB @ Home). Everything points to the Cubs winning this game with Arrieta on the mound, but if Cardinals do their “devil magic” as people affectionally call it, things could potentially go different.