Dan Hamilton | USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees play the Cardinals this weekend. And that’s special.

You’d never know it, but it’s true. The Cardinals are the most successful team in baseball history after the Yankees. New York’s 27 championships are followed by St Louis’ Midwesternly modest 11. But the Cardinals hold a 3-2 lead in the five Fall Classics involving the two clubs.

This weekend, Busch Stadium will play home to history for several reasons.

New York Yankees (70-36) at St. Louis Cardinals (56-48)

Time: 8:15 p.m. ET Friday; 7:15 p.m. ET Saturday; 2:15 p.m. ET Sunday

TV: Amazon Prime on Friday; FOX on Saturday; YES on Sunday

Probable pitching matchups (Yankees pitcher listed first)

  • Nestor Cortes (9-3, 2.53 ERA) vs. Dakota Hudson (6-6, 4.10)
  • Domingo German (1-1, 6.38) vs. Jordan Montgomery (3-3, 3.69)
  • Frankie Montas (4-9, 3.18) vs. Adam Wainwright (8-8, 3.11)

Worth watching. There are so many great storylines in this series that they could probably be used to build a second St. Louis Arch. Matt Carpenter was a three-time All-Star with the Cardinals before becoming the Yankees’ latest cult hero. St. Louis also has two future Hall-of-Famers in Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols, both retiring at the end of the season.

Both teams are also among the top-10 in hitting and pitching. The Cardinals are only a half-game out of first place in the NL Central. It’s not too bold to view these three games as a potential World Series preview.

Key matchup. Newest Yankee Frankie Montas makes his anticipated debut on Sunday. But Saturday will prove more interesting. Newest Cardinal Jordan Montgomery was just traded to St. Louis at the eleventh hour of Tuesday’s trade deadline and the tall lefty seemed visibly upset about the move. Not even a week to adjust to his new team, and he’ll pitch against his old one on national television Saturday evening.

X-factor. The top third of the Yankees order — DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, and Anthony Rizzo — has hit well lately even as New York basically plays .500 ball. The problem is in Giancarlo Stanton’s absence, nobody has stepped up to be that valuable cleanup option in the middle of the order.

Andrew Benintendi has one hit as a Yankee. Josh Donaldson has underachieved all year and Gleyber Torres is so streaky that he might have escaped being traded himself. One of these three absolutely must step up until Stanton comes back and also for the rest of the season. But who will it be?

Final thoughts and prediction. The Cardinals may own the World Series matchup, but the Yankees have the cumulative interleague series, 9-3. Hudson is probably St. Louis’ worst pitcher, Wainwright is 40 years old, and Montgomery is now learning a new approach from veteran pitching coach Mike Maddux.

New York will shake off a tough series loss to Seattle by winning in St. Louis, even if the Cardinals do steal a game. Yankees win two out of three.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.