The St. Louis Cardinals will need to wait for over a month before seeing how they matchup with the division rival Chicago Cubs.
We are almost three weeks into the regular season, and the St. Louis Cardinals have only faced two division opponents: the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds. They are only 2-4 in those games, which has been an early disappointment for a team with as high of expectations as the Cardinals, but one thing we do not yet know is how they will stack up with the Chicago Cubs.
We will have to wait a while for that, too, as the Cardinals and Cubs do not square off until May 21. It is arguably one of, if not the most important divisional matchup that this season will bring, as the Cubs are likely to be prominent opponents even as they deal with increased uncertainty about their long-term outlook as Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and others near free agency.
The Cardinals, however, should stack up pretty well with the Cubs. Their hitting, led by Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt, figures to improve from their current level. The rotation should settle in and eat more innings to ease the burden on a bullpen that has been one of the most tested — and effective — in baseball.
The Cubs, meanwhile, have struggled to score runs this season, going only 7 for 84 with runners in scoring position this year. The bullpen has recently been decimated as they lost three relievers to the COVID-19 related Injured List out of abundance of caution. It’s led to their 5-8 start, which ranks last in the National League Central.
But the Cubs, much like the Cardinals, figure to get better as the season goes on. What is working in the Cardinals’ favor, however, is that they are soon going to get top starter Kwang-hyun Kim back from injury with Harrison Bader and Miles Mikolas also looming.
We won’t know how these two teams stack up, but the early signs indicate that it should tilt in the Cardinals favor. But we will have to wait over a month until these teams are able to face off against one another on the field.