wrigley field from right bleachersTravis Wood will try to clinch a second straight series against the Cardinals, which, neat.

Game Info

St. Louis Cardinals (69-52) at Chicago Cubs (53-68), 3:05 CT on FOX.

Game Thread and Series Preview

The Game Thread lives here. You should participate in the madness. And, of course, for those who aren’t into message board-style game threads, please feel free to use the comments on this post for your in-game commentary/outbursts.

The Series Preview for this series lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Joe Kelley (3-3, 3.14 ERA, 4.15 FIP)


Travis Wood (7-9, 3.00 ERA, 3.69 FIP)

St. Louis Cardinals Lineup

1. Matt Carpenter, 2B

2. Carlos Beltran, RF

3. Matt Holliday, LF

4. Allen Craig, 1B

5. Yadier Molina, C

6. David Freese, 3B

7. Jon Jay, CF

8. Pete Kozma, SS

9. Joe Kelly, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. David DeJesus, CF

2. Junior Lake, LF

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Nate Schierholtz, RF

5. Welington Castillo, C

6. Donnie Murphy, 3B

7. Starlin Castro, SS

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Travis Wood, P

  • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

    If you want a laugh, check out this Castro prediction (#9) and Rizzo (#8) made over at Fangraphs.
    #5 is inane.
    .#3 was pretty off – Wil Myers.
    #2 – was pretty far off.

    The post screams over analysis:

  • Lyle Ernst

    To Jason P. I was watching the game. bases loaded, one out, batter hits pop up to short left field. Castro catches the ball, then puts his head down. Jay took off from 3rd for home. Castro then saw him and threw the ball to home.. too late.

    When Castro walked off the field, Sveum met him. All Dale did was point to the locker room and say “take it on it.” Ransom replaced Castro in the lineup at 3rd & Murphy moved to SS.

  • Lyle Ernst

    Dale said “take it on in.” typo

  • Patrick G

    For everyone going at Starlin and calling for Baez, just know Baez has 41 errors so far this season.

    • Lucky

      Baez won’t be any bit better at SS then what Castro is. Baez can make some really athletic plays but if you watch him consistently like I do. It is pretty rough at out in the field sometimes. He still has time to get better but I don’t really think he’ll ever be anything more then an average fielder in the majors. Average is his ceiling but I think ultimately if he remains at SS he’ll be slightly below average but still servicable

      • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

        See the analysis below…..

  • Lucky

    Hector Rondon look filthy now that he regained his velocity. I still think next season he should go back down to Iowa for some seasoning and try and refine his command to become more consistent

  • Mr. B. Patient

    Do the Cubs use advance scouts? or is that an area Theo is saving money in?

    • Lucky

      Yes they do use advance scouts. Although they did cut back this offseason on scouting luxuries such as hotel costs, car rentals and other costs. They were penny pinching the scouting staff which you heard some rumblings from cubs scouts to anger them a little bit. To my knowledge they have one of the better scouting staffs in the MLB and they prep the big league team very well. They also have a scouting staff for the minors that prepares the minor leaguers for every game. They help lay out game plans for players. This is something the Hendry era never offered.

    • Jason

      Good question. May be just using that 25 yr old kid they hired–computerized scouting. I did know who Hendry used his last year–forgot name.

  • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

    Castro’s play today is not the reason I write this.

    It seemingly looked good last year to lock up Castro for the long-term. It very well could work out – one game does not a career-altering mistake make, unless your Brad Lidge v. Albert Pujols. (I kid, sorta.)

    But Castro has regressed across the board. HIS Defense has not improved if you see he’s getting to less balls, and his UZR is at -8.2.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=ss&stats=fld&lg=all&qual=y&type=1&season=2013&month=0&season1=2013&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=24,d places him almost dead last. He was quite a bit better in 2012, positive UZR, and RF of 4.69.

    It may get real interesting if Baez fields just a bit better, though he is getting to nearly 1 chance per game more than Castro is right now in AA (4.97) vs. (4.05). I don’t know the league average at AA, but I think it can’t be unusually different from MLB. Someone can take a shot, and show me the differences from MLB averages for SS for chances.

    In short, if in 2014 Castro has not turned it around, come 2015, Baez may be the MLB SS after all.

    Castro moves possibly to a different role. TBD in 2015.

    • Lucky

      I agree with you. But I think if came down Castro vs. Baez at short in 2015, if both are mediocre and about the same level I feel we should Castro at SS because Castros bat profiles better over at SS. Castro doesn’t have enough pop for 3rd, he would probably profile well at 2nd but if he’s playing at SS he provides more excess value because its hard to find good bats at SS. In Baez’s case his bat profiles well anywhere he plays. Mostly my opinion is based off of preserving value.

      Personally I believe if Castro shows he can still hit at Allstar level again next year, we should trade him. Can’t sell him for penny’s on the dollar.

      • Jason Powers

        So why choose castro over baez? Baez will be cheaper so his per $ value at SS will be greater. Move castro to 2b. If he continues his spiral we have better options to explore and value is the least of your problem. Then it becomes salvaging worth or ditching a contract. It is still a year off before determining what castro is worth….

        • Baseball24/7

          If we leave Castro at SS and he hits well again next year his value will be much higher then if he got switched to 2nd. It is easier to find a good hitting 2nd baseman then it is to find a good hitting SS. His trade value would be worth much more. Plus his contract looks a lot more appetizing if he’s playing SS as apposed to 2nd.

          • Jason Powers

            That was not the issue. If he continues his current performance and baez is legit, then baez’s value could trump. I disagree on the contract…too. eod. Will see in 2014 in sept what castro’s future holds .

  • HVAC Bob

    Can we PLEASE get rid of Cody Ransom.

  • Baseball24/7

    Is it still an option to send Castro to Iowa? Has he accumulated a full 3 seasons of service time yet. I believe once you have at least 3 yrs of service time and have a Major League contract he can reject the assignment. Which I believe he would. He doesn’t want to ride the buses again and Iowa is a little different in quality of life compared to Chicago.

    I believe if we could send him down I would. Doesn’t need to just be taken out of a game to send a message. He should learn fundamentals and try and learn some form of plate approach. Obviously what they were doing didn’t get through to him. He needs to learn to take responsibility and grow up. Don’t swing and junk pitches and learn to be sounds and control at fielding the SS position.

  • wilbur

    Well, for all the let Castro be Castro apologists, this is now the third manager he has aggravated with his poor play and lousy approach to the game. Now it is time to let Sveum be Sveum and bench him.

    Too bad the front office didn’t trade Castro last year when he still had some value. Now they gave him that big dollar contract and may wind up with another Soriano or Marmol type situation where you are just hoping you can move him somewhere. When your division rivals the cardinals are just waiting to punk the guy and knew he would screw up and they could score on him, you can’t continue with the guy. The cardinals know what he is and how he plays,. the rest of the lieague knows it. Time for Cubs fans to finally catch on to this too, All hype and promise and poor play is just one more Hendry farm team product. Too bad.

  • papabear

    If the cubs and the cardinals combined teams -how many cubs make the 25 man roster and in what capasity.

  • papabear

    I think 8-most bench players