St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Miles Mikolas wipes his face after throwing a simulated inning during baseball practice at Busch Stadium Tuesday, July 7, 2020, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
- The St. Louis Cardinals are -115 home favorites over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday night at Busch Stadium
- Miles Mikolas makes his first start since 2019 for the Cardinals, facing rookie Adbert Alzolay (2-3, 4.62 ERA)
- A prediction and analysis of Cubs-Cardinals can be found below
Miles Mikolas will make his long-awaited return to the St. Louis Cardinals when they host the Chicago Cubs at 7:15 p.m. ET Saturday at Busch Stadium.
Mikolas will make his first start for the Cardinals since Game 1 of the 2019 National League Championship Series after missing last season while recovering from surgery to repair a torn flexor muscle in his right forearm. Rookie Adbert Alzolay (2-3, 4.62 ERA) goes for the Cubs.
The Cubs (23-21) have won five of their last six games, including routing the Cardinals 12-3 on Friday night in the opener of the three-game series. The NL Central-leading Cardinals (25-19) have dropped four of their last six.
Cubs vs Cardinals Odds
|Chicago Cubs||-103||-1.5 (+175)||Over 8.5 (-109)|
|St. Louis Cardinals||-115||+1.5 (-210)||Under 8,5 (-112|
Odds as of May 22nd from DraftKings
Alzolay Coming On for Cubs
Alzolay has gone 2-1 with a 4.09 ERA and 22 strikeouts and two walks in 22 innings over his last four starts. That comes after he had a 0-2 record and 5.40 ERA in his three outings of 2021.
Adbert Alzolay, 95mph Fastball and 87mph Slider, Overlay. pic.twitter.com/jsFs3J3gsS
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 11, 2021
In last start Monday, Alzolay beat the visiting Washington Nationals. He went five innings and allowed three runs and five hits with three strikeouts and no walks.
Opponents are hitting just .195 this season against Alzolay. He has pitched at least six innings in two of his seven starts and allowed two earned runs or less three times.
Alzolay is 0-1 with a fine 2.35 ERA in two career starts versus the Cardinals, yielding three runs (two earned) in 7.2 innings. This will be his first time pitching at Busch Stadium.
Cardinals Career Stats vs Alzolay
One Cardinals hitter Alzolay will need to be careful with is Paul Goldschmidt. The first baseman is hitting .313 (21 for 67) in 17 games in May with four doubles and three home runs.
Cardinals broadcast feels it coming, and calls Paul Goldschmidt’s titanic dinger #stlfly pic.twitter.com/j6Ktu3O0Rb
— VHS (@VanHicklestein) May 8, 2021
St. Louis has been held to four runs or fewer in six of their last eight games.
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Mikolas Makes It Back
Mikolas began this season on the injured list with a sore right shoulder then made three rehab starts for Triple-A Memphis. He was 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA, giving up five runs in 12.1 innings.
Mikolas was sharp in his last outing, pitching six shutout innings last Sunday to beat Nashville. He scattered four hits, walked one and struck out three.
And he hit a home run. He has two in 138 career MLB plate appearances.
“Miles Mikolas! Have yourself a day!” @lastoneformiles pitched six scoreless innings today…
Oh, and he also did this 💣💣
🎙: @evstockton pic.twitter.com/AKSnUhYoAD
— Memphis Redbirds (@memphisredbirds) May 16, 2021
Mikolas tied for the NL lead in wins with 18 in 2018 then tied the league lead in losses with 14 in 2019.
In 10 career games, including eight starts, against the Cubs, Mikolas is 3-2 with a 1.57 ERA.
Cubs Career Stats vs Mikolas
The Cubs have scored five runs or more in six of their last seven games and have many hot hitters, including Joc Pederson. The left fielder and leadoff man is 17 for 40 (.425) in his last 10 games with two doubles, one triple and one home run.
Center fielder Ian Happ has gone 11 for 27 (.407) in seven games since coming off the injured list with bruised left ribs with three doubles and four homers. Second Niko Hoerner is 8 for 20 (.400) during a five-game hitting streak.
Ian Happ, AGAIN!
His 2nd of the game 😃💣 pic.twitter.com/Tf1ymLMORh
— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) May 20, 2021
First baseman Anthony Rizzo has gone 18 for 56 (.321) in May with five doubles, one triple and a home run in 17 games.
Pederson Gets It Started
Pederson homered on the first pitch of the game Friday night in the Cubs’ win and Happ had two hits in an eight-run eight inning that turned a 4-3 games into a rout.
Hoerner had two hits and scored three times for Chicago. Pederson, who hit his 22nd career leadoff homer, Kris Bryant, Rizzo and David Bote each drove in two runs.
St. Louis is exciting!@yungjoc650 #CubTogether pic.twitter.com/AUoEJ2X8As
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 22, 2021
Friday marked the first of 19 games between the NL Central rivals this season. The team split 10 games last year and the Cardinals won the season series 10-9 in both 2018 and 2019.
It has been a long time since Mikolas taken the mound in the major league game but looks like the play here following a strong final rehab outing.
The Pick: Cardinals (-115)
John Perrotto has been covering and writing about sports for various outlets for over 40 years. His work has appeared in the likes of USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com, Forbes.com, The Associated Press, Baseball Digest, and more. John is based out of Beaver Falls, PA.