busch stadiumStarting a few hours early today …

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (66-94) at St. Louis Cardinals (95-65), 3:15 CT on WGN.

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

Edwin Jackson (8-17, 4.74 ERA, 3.68 FIP)


Lance Lynn (18-9, 3.01 ERA, 2.57 FIP)

St. Louis Cardinals Lineup

1. Matt Carpenter, 2B

2. Jon Jay, CF

3. Matt Holliday, LF

4. Matt Adams, 1B

5. Yadier Molina, C

6. Daniel Descalso, 3B

7. Pete Kozma, SS

8. Adron Chambers, RF

9. Adam Wainwright, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Starlin Castro, SS

2. Junior Lake, LF

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Dioner Navarro, C

5. Nate Schierholtz, RF

6. Donnie Murphy, 3B

7. Brian Bogusevic, CF

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Edwin Jackson, P

  • MichiganGoat

    Only think worth following is if the Rangers can get in the playoffs.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Hunter Pence signs 5 year $ 94 million deal to remain in SF.

  • Demarrer

    Cubs loss and Twins win today. Come on Cubs! That allows me to root for you to win tomorrow!

    • Jimmy James

      And I’ll be there….I’m a glutton for punishment

  • Reality Check

    as much as I despise the cardinals; this is telling in the difference between the 2 teams and their ownership. today’s game was moved up 4 hours to avoid rain and potential delays, etc. 4 hours!; that’s it. yet the team and owners are mailing every fan who has a ticket; meaning you do not have to attend, a voucher for a FREE ticket for 2014 game.
    p.k.mcmcaskey and family have given fans 4 yrs of shitty baseball; looking like a 5th coming with 2 of the worst mgrs. in cubs history with mike and dale quade; kept tickets prices at top 3 in baseball and now whine that the team cannot afford players until the stadium is renovated, more ad money, more tv money and on and on and on.(funny how the 1984, 1989, 1998, 2003, 2007, and 2008 teams won without all this revenue (and no its not the loan the PKs chose that is the problem).
    so there you go; one team moves a game 4 hours and another provides shit baseball giving back nothing but excuses.
    one is class. one is just an ass.
    46 yrs old and I never remember being this pissed at the cubs.
    guess it could be worse; could live in mesa, az and not only be a fan; but have my tax dollars pay for this shit owner’s new ST complex. now that is the ultimate slap in the face.
    go cubs gp; 105 yrs and counting………

    • TWC


    • 5RunHomerun

      I want to use my words, but I don’t want feel that this deserves a thought-out response. So, I’ll just go the Darth Hater route.

      • 5RunHomerun

        *don’t feel that…

        English is hard sometimes.

      • Reality Check

        Truth hurts sometimes.

      • Reality Check

        more like; there is nothing to defend here. but great attempt with your childlike photo proving simple minds have simple thoughts. don’t worry; those of us smart cubs fans will point out the BS so you don’t have to think too hard; run along now back to your color-by-number coloring book…….i’m guessing the cubby blue crayon is worn to the nub.

        • 5RunHomerun

          Honestly, the Cubs have sucked for decades. They have been horribly mismanaged for a long time. You don’t get the moniker “lovable losers” without making a lot of bad decisions. However, I don’t throw Hendry in with everyone else. I believe he did a lot of things right during his time with the Cubs. Last decade was filled with a decent amount of success and fairly constant competitiveness. You’d like to see better from the Cubs, but if they contended for the postseason 5 or 6 out of every ten years, most of us would be content.

          If you honestly pay attention to what the current front office is doing, they are making many of the same positive moves that allowed the Cubs to be competitive for the first half of last decade. They drafted phenomenal, young pitching (Wood and Prior). Those two guys anchored an amazing staff in 2003 that also featured a young Zambrano. The offense was built around the stud Sammy. Then in a great trade, the front office brought in Kenny Lofton as a rental and got Aramis Ramirez. They then acquired Derek Lee; he and Ramirez anchored that lineup offensively for a good while. Unfortunately injuries ate away at Prior first and later Wood. If Prior could have stayed healthy and productive, the Cubs truly could have had a magical decade.

          2007 and 2008 were fun years, but they were also the beginning of the end for Hendry. The genius trades were in the past and had been replaced with gigantic contracts. Bringing in Soriano was great, but even at the time, people questioned the amount and length of the contract. Zambrano’s contract was too much money for an aging pitcher who obviously had some mental issues. I don’t disapprove of the Harden trade. The Cubs were in win now mode, and most of those prospects amounted to nothing. The collapse of the team following 2008 was tied to large contracts given to aging players and the lack of a farm system. Hendry wasn’t the worst drafter, but the Cubs development in the minor leagues was a joke. What happened to guys like Wood and Prior. I mean, Samardzija is the best pitching prospect we’ve produced in a decade.

          Pretty much, when Jed and Theo took control, the team was at the worst possible place. There was very little talent on the major league roster, we had large sums of money tied down to old and/or ineffective players, and our farm system was one of the worst in the major leagues. Just spending money on everyone available would not have solved our problems. Remember when people wanted the Cubs to get Hamilton last summer? The first thing the front office had to do was get the dead money off of the books and build up a farm system. Done and done.

          I agree. Starting next year, the Cubs need to start being competitive at the major league level again. I don’t expect them to make the playoffs, but they need to show real improvement. Part of that will be players like Castro, Rizzo, Samardzija, and Lake improving. Another part will be some of the impact minor leaguers making their major league debuts. I fully expect to see Baez come up next year. And finally, the Cubs need to make a few moves in free agency. However, the Cubs don’t need to sign players on the wrong side of 30 to large contracts just to see them provide a fraction of the value for which they’re being paid. They should continue to look for players who are undervalued and can provide for the team. I am annoyed by spending limitations, but the Cubs don’t need to spend hundreds of millions to be competitive. They just need to maintain a top farm system and make smart free agent signings and savvy trades.

          • JR

            ”They just need to maintain a top farm system and make smart free agent signings and savvy trades”

            I agree with your point, sorry to have to go here but I really hope the Cubs follow the Cards model. St. Louis always seems to draft smart, develop players and knows when and who to either trade or pick up as a free agent. That’s why they are always in the hunt every October.

          • TWC

            “They just need to maintain a top farm system and make smart free agent signings and savvy trades.”

            No. They just need to get a bit more left-handed.

    • True blue

      I can certainly relate to your frustration. I do see it more of a plus on how great the Cardinal organization is being run and how lucky the Cubs are in a big market. Theo gets paid to put a positive spin on the Cubs situation. Wouldn’t you if you were the one running it? The average attendance in baseball is 2.6 million which is what the Cubs did this year. A terrible season, the worse 4 consecutive years of watching Cubs baseball, and high ticket prices are unfair to the fans. The difference is we are in a huge market with a very loyal following, even as many Cubs fans do become disenchanted and frustrated and may only occasional watch a game as opposed to watching every game, it doesn’t matter. The market is so huge and fans a plenty that they can try to work their plan. I am a season ticket holder with four tickets for all 81 games. I went to only 6 games this year, I could not give my tickets away to friends or family. Probably the worse investment I ever made but I will be doing it again this year in the hopes that that the Cubs will be fun to watch again. I have many friends that have given up their season tickets and are fed up. This certainly supports the declining attendance at Wrigley. One thing that happened during Jim Henry’s reign as GM is that Cubs fans changed and no longer accept the Cubs as loveable losers and now want a winner. We had a taste for awhile and enjoyed it. I hope their plan works or we may see the worse decade of Cubs baseball.

      • http://It'searly Mike F

        This is a very intelligent thing. Hendry after 2003 raised expectations along with the ownership changes and need to leverage the sale, to the point, lovable losing isn’t an option. And some of the conspiracy theories are starting to lead to projectile vomiting.

        I believe Ricketts when he says Theo has the resources he needs and wants. Theo grossly miscalculated the Chicago mentality. Go back and check where he said it was great to be somewhere where people didn’t demand instant winning and the Cubs weren’t the center of universe opposed the the Red Sox. Theo wanted to blow it up and did, not that it didn’t need to be, but the biggest mistake is his inability to install the constant focus on winning and some of the standards he has set.

        Yes, I am still a Theo guy, but he’s making some major philosophical mistakes. He needs to shut up to the media, especially the Chicago media. He has underestimated the Chicago media in my view. He also needs to take a long hard look at the core, especially Castro and Barney, in my view both need to go. While I don’t like it, my fear is he likely trades Baez opting to refuse to accept the obvious on Castro. I’m fairly certain you’ve seen the last of Shark, but who knows.

    • chrisfchi

      When did a McMcaskey become a team owner or have any say in regards to cubs baseball? I must have been under a rock or something

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

    At least we have something to discuss:

    Hunter Pence set a soft bottom in the 2014 FA OF market – at 5/90 at age 30/31 in April 2014. http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/09/giants-extend-hunter-pence.html

    So, Choo past performances almost put him in the 4/80-5/100 conversation.
    Ellsbury, probably 6/110…just suggesting that if Pence is worth X, both Choo and Ellsbury are worth X plus $1-2M per year more…

    Masahiro Tanaka might be a plausible now at $100 million. Yesterday, I wrote this with plenty of analysis (formatting went a little ca ca), but its worth a read. http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com/2013/09/masahiro-tanaka-25-year-japanese.html

    Then, a possibly Girardi saga begins on Monday. Guess that will be the hottest button for the next week.

    Oh, and we got 1 more game to lose to assure the 4th pick.

  • Jeff

    Good to see E. Jackson finished the year in a predictable manner, giving up at least 5 runs before exiting.

    Was the injury he was removed for pride or was it a real injury??

    • Gutshot5820

      But..but…but… he is a great pitcher according to some experts the five runs every game is meaningless as long as his fip is exciting.

      • Kyle

        No good argument in the history of the internet has ever been preceded by “But … but … but…”

        It is the Wal-Mart of rhetorical devices.

  • college_of_coaches

    Here’s a hypothetical question. If you were the Cubs’ GM and you were given the opportunity to trade Baez and Almora for Giancarlo Stanton, OR…get Y. Cespedes for a package of players that includes prospects but does not include the big four (thus excluding Soler also, as well as Bryant who can’t be traded until next season any ways).

    Which would you do?

    • Kyle

      That’s really impossible to say without knowing the prospects.

      My head says that the Stanton deal is better. You just don’t pass on a chance to get a guy like Stanton.

      But my heart wants to believe that Baez *is* our Stanton, except with middle-infield defense.

      • Brains

        Someone, anyone, anywhere, anytime…

      • http://It'searly Mike F

        I agree in the better, and yet, I think there is greater risk in trading Baez than people want to come grips with. That said, there is no way I would include Almore in a deal like that. As to Cespedes, we all knew they opted for Soler over Cespedes so I don’t get why people are peeing their pants to write him off. I understand though Kyle where you are coming from with Stanton, just I think given his knees and the unknown of the prospects its very tough. For Theo, I think there is a real risk in trading prospects after he has centered so much on them. I really believe it makes far more sense to ship Castro Barney and Shark, as hard it is may be, and some of the 5-15 prospects say for upside guys than people like Price and Stanton. Take your chances then on a better, maybe one, free agent.

    • Rich H

      Cespedes in a heart beat. Just because the value he gives is far more than just his bat.

      If we trade for Stanton it becomes a comparison between what we gave up and what we have. Plus we know that Cespedes loves the spotlight. There is a big difference between Florida and Chicago as far as the media goes.

    • college_of_coaches

      Yes, I didn’t want to burden the hypothetical question with too many specifics, which is why I didn’t add any specific prospect names. I think that the Marlins are too cheap to trade for Soler, given his contract, and Bryant can’t be traded. Thus, the only possible pieces I can envision are Baez and Almora.

    • Blublud

      I wouldn’t trade Baez for Stanton, better yet Baez and Almora. If Almora headlined a deal, not involvong Bryant, Soler, and Baez, then I would be all ears.

      I would take Cespedes, because the sum of any one individual we trade for him in, this scenario, would probably not be better then him. That’s obtaining value. Giving up depth, not really top talent, to obtain a better player.

    • jt

      3 years of Stanton vs 6 years of Baez?
      Cubs have 1B, SS and C set. They could move Valbuena to 2B if Barney fails to find his BAbip. So there remains glaring holes at 3B, LF, CF, RF. Stanton would solve the RF problem but not the big bats needed at the other positions. As the loses continued to mount many tickets would continue to be left unsold and the revenue stream would dry.
      Theo traded Hanley for 26 y/o Beckett. I wouldn’t mind trading Baez but I’d want a 22 y/o Beckett (and I wouldn’t mind tossing in Lake and Vogelbomb and a few others that are similar)

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

        Not quite ready to hand down Welington Castillo the keys to the Porsche. Frankly, SS is pretty fluid too if Castro 2014 ends anywhere near 2013.

        Catching – weak. No depth. Castillo needs a backup.
        1B – So far, so adequate. Vogelbach and Rizzo…
        2B – Can created plenty of options to shuffle in to replace Barney.
        SS – Dilemma if Castro repeats 2013 and Baez’s SS skills are not improving.
        3B- Strongest minor league position; have some pieces to move to LF/RF.
        OF – Needs a plenty. Have 4th OF in surplus. Need a stud. Almora & Soler are a year plus from debut (2015/6). Buy it, trade for it, and we settle on a consistent platoon system…

        This is all you need to know for this offense:
        Year W Runs Allowed BatAge PitchAge Batters Pitchers
        2013 66 600 672 27.9 28.7 56 31
        2012 61 613 759 27.8 27.9 53 30
        2011 71 654 756 29.3 29.4 42 22
        2010 75 685 767 29.4 28.2 44 23
        2009 83 707 672 29.9 28.4 45 24
        2008 97 855 671 30.1 28.9 42 23
        2007 85 752 690 29.3 28.4 47 22
        2006 66 716 834 28.6 28 46 23
        2005 79 703 714 29.7 28.2 46 22
        2004 89 789 665 30.1 29.1 43 19
        2003 88 724 683 31.3 28.2 42 17
        2002 67 706 759 30.2 27.6 44 22
        2001 88 777 701 30.7 29.8 43 20

        So, I am thinking we need a focus on how to get back to 700 Runs scored. Maybe 750, if we want to win more than 81 games.

        • jt

          Sorry, but I’m impressed with Beef and have been for a while. I’d pay Dioner market value to keep him. Between the 2 of them that solidifies either the 4 or 5 slot in the batting order. My guess is that would be the cheapest and best way of getting that done.
          OK, 1B and SS are adequate. If Valbuena moves to 2nd the 2B becomes adequate.
          To my point, because we are talking 1B and SS as being adequate they would need 3 more big bats besides Stanton to make it work. I just can not see them spending $100M for Choo. So to my mind the FA thing this year is limited.
          T. Wood will be 28 y/o is under control through 2016. They add two young top of the rotation starters to go along with the wave of bats that will be soon graduating from the minors and they would then have the potential for both run production and run prevention.
          Yeah, I would include Shark in a package to get another young almost ready for prime time arm.
          Hey, Theo/Jed can play the cards dealt in many ways. This should be an interesting hotstove.

        • jt

          meant to say thanks for the table.
          good stuff and the point is well taken

  • Die hard

    This team couldn’t beat most AA teams — pathetic

    • Gutshot5820

      Ok, wait for Kyle to respond. In his mind no AA could beat a MLB team in 100 tries.

      • Kyle

        You aren’t very good at getting your own points across, I don’t think you should be taking on the added task of trying to speak for others.

        • Gutshot5820

          Well it takes you a 100 posts a day to get your points across and people still don’t understand or agree with you, so coming from you I can comfortably shrug off any of your statements.

          • MichiganGoat

            But you never shrug anything off, you instead find ways to start arguments. And those are very easy to ignore and forget about. Have a wonderful night gunshot.

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    I agree with both MG and Kyle, both have a lot worth reading.