Expert Cappers Picks
Major League Baseball
Preview
St. Louis at Chi. Cubs
When: 1:05 PM ET, Saturday, September 29, 2018
Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois

The Chicago Cubs will enter Saturday with a chance to clinch their third consecutive National League Central crown while delivering a big blow to the archrival St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs opened the final series of the season with an 8-4 win over the slumping Cardinals at Wrigley Field in Chicago, reducing their magic number to two to win the division.

Kyle Hendricks threw eight solid innings and Kris Bryant went deep as Chicago handed St. Louis its fourth straight loss. The Cubs' lead is one game over the second-place Milwaukee Brewers and the Cardinals fell two behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the race for the second wild-card spot with two to play. Chicago gives the ball to veteran left-hander Cole Hamels on Saturday, while St. Louis turns to 17-game winner Miles Mikolas. Marcell Ozuna had a pair of hits and an RBI on Friday for the Cardinals and he has driven in 15 runs in 17 games against the Cubs in 2018.

TV: 1:05 p.m. ET, FOX

PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Miles Mikolas (17-4, 2.94 ERA) vs. Cubs LH Cole Hamels (9-11, 3.87)

Mikolas is third in the NL in wins after picking up victories in each of his last four outings. He has a 2.81 ERA in that span while striking out 23 and walking two over 25 2/3 innings. The 30-year-old spun seven scoreless innings to defeat the Cubs on May 4 and is 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA in three matchups this season.

After going 4-0 with a 0.69 ERA in August following a trade from Texas, Hamels is 0-2 with a 4.75 mark in five September starts, although he was solid Monday against Pittsburgh. The 34-year-old held the Pirates to two earned runs while striking out seven over six innings, leaving his ERA this year at Wrigley Field at 1.60. Ozuna is 8-for-29 with three homers against Hamels, who has a 2.79 ERA in 13 career starts versus St. Louis.

WALK-OFFS

1. The Cardinals have not lost more than four in a row since a seven-game slide in June, 2017.

2. Cubs 2B Daniel Murphy is 13-for-35 during an eight-game hitting streak.

3. St. Louis leads the season series 9-8.

PREDICTION: Cubs 4, Cardinals 3
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
St. Louis 87-73 L4 43-38 44-35 16-16 40-34 20-14 11-9
Chi. Cubs 94-66 W3 50-29 44-37 22-11 40-34 19-14 13-7
Last Meeting
St. Louis Chi. Cubs
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
9/28/18 STL 4 CHC 8 .257 0 .659 .258 1 .729
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
St. Louis M. Ozuna .328 22 .906
Chi. Cubs A. Rizzo .387 24 1.100
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
St. Louis M. Carpenter 8 12 18
Chi. Cubs J. Baez 5 12 12
Pitching ERA Avg K
St. Louis 4.56 .263 122
Chi. Cubs 4.51 .276 125
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
St. Louis J. Martinez .305 161 .820
Chi. Cubs B. Zobrist .309 137 .824
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
St. Louis M. Carpenter 36 109 80
Chi. Cubs J. Baez 34 98 111
Pitching ERA Avg K
St. Louis 3.85 .249 1323
Chi. Cubs 3.66 .259 1306