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busch stadiumJeff Samardzija makes start number three, and it’ll be a stiff test against a stacked Cardinals lineup. On the flip-side, the Cubs get the good, but beatable, Joe Kelly. Not that you wouldn’t like to see the Cubs win every game, but, yeah, you’re really like to see them win this one.

The lineup is back to the more prototypical against-righty set, with one notable change: with Luis Valbuena back in the lineup, Ryan Kalish moves back down the order out of the two-hole, and Valbuena takes that spot. I think I probably prefer it that way; as much as I like the idea of Kalish’s speed at the top of the order, Valbuena is probably the better overall hitter/better on-base guy. Just don’t make him bunt.

As for guys like Mike Olt and Junior Lake sitting today, no, it’s not because they struggled (badly) yesterday. I really don’t think Ricky Renteria is quite that reactionary. Instead, it’s because of this:

  • Joe Kelly career against righties: .252/.318/.333
  • Joe Kelly career against lefties: .280/.349/.447

You want to stack the lineup with lefties against this guy. Hard.

And the Cubs have, so we’ll see what happens.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (3-6) at St. Louis Cardinals (5-4), 7:15 CT on CSN+.

Game Thread and Series Preview

The Game Thread lives here. 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 lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Jeff Samardzija (1.29 ERA, 3.67 FIP, 3.97 xFIP; 2.20 K/BB)

versus

Joe Kelly (1.69 ERA, 4.56 FIP, 4.80 x FIP; 1.00 K/BB)

St. Louis Cardinals Lineup

1. Matt Carpenter, 3B

2. Kolten Wong, 2B

3. Matt Holliday, LF

4. Matt Adams, 1B

5. Yadier Molina, C

6. Allen Craig, RF

7. Jhonny Peralta, SS

8. Peter Bourjos, CF

9. Joe Kelly, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Emilio Bonifacio, 2B

2. Luis Valbuena, 3B

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Nate Schierholtz, RF

5. Ryan Sweeney, CF

6. Starlin Castro, SS

7. Ryan Kalish, LF

8. Welington Castillo, C

9. Jeff Samardzija, P

  • E

    My expectations are low against this Cardinal team. I just want Castro to keep on keepin on.

    • blublud

      Look it up, but I believe the Cubs have Been just as good if not better than the Cards in just about every statistic so far this year except record.

    • blublud

      On offense, they have a higher AVE, SLUG, OBP, OPS, more homers, More hits and more bases and more runs.

      Pitching, they have a lower ERA, same runs allowed, Lower BAA and more SO.

      RIGHT NOW, the Cubs are the better team.

      • E

        Interesting. I would have thought just the opposite.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    A good chance we will be back into the bullpen again tonight. Rondon has been lights out and Grimm has responded well. For me the jury is still out on Strop. I think it may be getting close to the point where Parker gets called up if Schlitter struggles. I understand that with Russell and Wright it isn’t an option to send them down, but I am becoming more and more concerned about both of them. I hope Shark is lights out tonight and has a low pitch count and gets a complete game. I have no faith in Veres and as I said both LOOGY’s have been below average so far. That is a recipie for losing a lot of close games and frustration for Wood and Samardzija. Somehow Hammel seems to have the Mojo working for him. I wish he would share it with the rest of the guys.

    • Drew7

      “recipie”

      I just read that as, “Reese’s Pie”, and now I’m hungry.

      • DarthHater

        What a coincidence. Just seconds ago, I scarfed down four peanut butter cups.

  • auggie

    I like Valbuena hitting 2nd and Castro hitting 6th. Most of Castro’s success this season has come from batting 6th. Just leave him there and see how he does. It would always bug me how Sveum would have him batting in a different slot every single game.

    I also like Nate hitting clean-up as he is 4-10 with 3 doubles vs Kelly lifetime.

  • blublud

    I hate this lineup. I dont think you should “OVER” stack you lineup in any way. I think the value of maintaining a balance of lefties and righties is higher, and this lineup makes late game management easier for the opposition.

    • Drew7

      I’d much rather have a platoon advantage for the first 3 times through the order.

      • blublud

        The fact is, if a starter faces your lineup 3 times, he’s probably pitching a complete game shutout, or close to it. Either way, your offense hasn’t been successful, so the platooning doesnt matter at that point. Once you get to the pen, the third time around the lineup, the manager can throw his lefty reliever at you, and force your hand. Once you hit the forth time around, you have nothing sitting on the bench. Balance is very important, especially when the game gets late.

        • jp3

          I’m lost, if they bring in the lefty reliever we have multiple RH off the bench. What’s the problem again? P.S. We still have 4 RH IN the lineup currently (EMILIO!!!(A night at the Roxbury)).

          • waittilthisyear

            emilio has got to start tipping his cap. like so

            • Jon

              The same way as Strop, to avoid any potential gang conflicts on the roster

        • Drew7

          What?

  • WilliamGlass721

    We need about 25 runs if we’re going to our terrible bullpen! Aside from Rondon, Grimm and Strop, I am not comfortable with any of them pitching.

    • Patrick G

      Strop hasn’t been doing well enough to be considered being comfortable with

      • WilliamGlass721

        True, but at least he’s capable of striking people out when he needs to. He would have struck Alvarez out yesterday.

  • notcubbiewubbie

    don’t worry they will use everyday james again.

  • HislersHero

    Damn, that lineup looks scary compared to the Cubs. I just have to remind myself to keep low expectations for the next three days.

    • waittilthisyear

      i kind of disagree. looks less fearsome with bourjus instead of beltran, a struggling craig, and a PED free pheralta. im sure i butchered two of those names, but i did not feel like scrolling up.

  • Chris

    Completely off topic ( but I guess not really considering the site) -

    Where’s the Bears’ blog?

  • Jon

    I crack up when people say “I hate this lineup ” have you seen the
    25 man roster?

  • Jon

    Almora with another double. Dominating the FSL. #DarwinBarneyBat

    • Jon

      Javy isn’t playing tonight :(

    • Rich H

      I just spit out my Crown. Jon that hash tag is hilarious.

  • JasonP

    when the Cardinals bunt in the first. It’s playing baseball the right way.

    • Medicos

      JasonP: I agree with u 110%. The Cards play at lot of small ball “manufactured” runs. Molina’s RBI hit was to the opposite field. That’s how the RedBirds led the league in runs scored last year.

      • JasonP

        I was being sarcastic, given the discussion associated with Brett’s post about bunting.

        I think the Cards leading the league in runs had a lot more to do with their league leading OBP, also note they were 11th in the NL in sacrifices.

      • Drew7

        No, that was their high OBP and record-setting avg w RISP.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          The Cards were also 3rd in slugging: 2nd if we look only at teams playing with non-Martian atmospheric pressure at home. They combined that with the 4th lowest OPS allowed.

          Indeed, if the Cards hadn’t been a bit unlucky in close games (they were 0.555 in 1-run games and 0.611 in 2+ run games), then they probably would have won over 100 games: their peripherals projected 103 wins!

  • WilliamGlass721

    I have extra innings and the game is not on!

  • lnfihDeL

    I’d rather have LEN and JD, but these Cards announcers aren’t very bad. Kind of like them.

    • JasonP

      Agreed, they actually know a good deal about the Cubs so far and weren’t cry babies about the double play on the liner

    • mjhurdle

      their TV guys aren’t bad, but their radio guys are absolutely horrible

  • JasonP

    Fat Man double…. hung that one out there for Adams

  • JasonP

    Man, Schierholtz just missed that one.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    Kelly is showing mostly fastball the first time through the lineup. Setting up the soft stuff for later. Shark had better hold them down becuse Kelly’s stuff looks real good.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    Samardzija has SO much tailing action on his two-seamer this year. Looks like a Maddux fastball, except about 8 mph faster. Just nasty when he can locate it.

  • Spoda17

    Woot… platoons are awesome… cuz they always work…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Anyone who makes the argument that platoons – regardless of players or matchups or whatever – “always” work is an idiot.

      Fortunately, I haven’t seen anyone here make that argument. Only that using platoons when you have dicey talent can be an effective way to maximize the results over the course of months of games.

    • Drew7

      Right. Let’s just throw out the last 4 games of 6+/game in favor of 4 innings. Sounds like a smart thing to do.

  • JasonP

    Through 3 and a half and only 1 more batter than the minimum has been up.This game is breezing along.

  • E

    Not really relevant to the game but I was looking for a radio stream and came across a web cam pointed at the front of Wrigley.

    http://www.earthcam.com/usa/illinois/chicago/wrigleyfield/?cam=wrigleyfield_hd

  • JasonP

    6-4 fielders choice????

    How was that not an infield fly?

    • Drew7

      Only 1 guy on.

      • JasonP

        Thanks, I didn’t realize that. So maybe we give Castro credit for swapping out Wong for the slower Holliday at first? He must have planned it.

  • JasonP

    Shark, left that one right over the heart. Where was Adams on that?

  • Drew7

    Shark would Farnsworth that bitch.

    • mjhurdle

      Joe Kelly would get absolutely rocked by Shark

    • mjhurdle

      and i think, if they are both in the game the next time Kelly comes up, Shark should plunk him again just for staring at him.

  • ssckelley

    Castillo framed that one just fine

    • Jason P

      Yeah this ump just sucks ass

      • Matt

        Maybe he talked with Donaghy before the game. I mean, baseball umps and basketball referees can be friends.

  • Soda Popinski

    Watching this umpire is infuriating.

  • Soda Popinski

    What’s the opinion on pitchers sac bunting? Yay or nay?

    • lnfihDeL

      Both are outs, let him swing.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Might as well, unless there is a slow runner on 2nd with a force at 3rd. Really, this is “name your poison.”

  • lnfihDeL

    LET THE PLAYER TRY AND HIT THE GOD DAMN BALL.

    God, this is so frustrating.

  • Spoda17

    I am so glad the Cubs platoon… it is to effective

    • Jason P

      Yeah, I hate how they’re keeping all those hall of farmers on the bench.

      • Jason P

        Famers

      • Spoda17

        hahaha.. yeah dude, you are so smart… thanks for your wisdom

        • Drew7

          Funny, I don’t remember you saying much during the last few games.

        • Jason P

          Should’ve started Lake over Sweeney AMIRITE?

          • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

            Precisely

  • Spoda17

    *so

  • Spoda17

    Brett, next analysis… actual effectiveness… platoon in a vacuum work… but you still have to have effectiveness…

    • mjhurdle

      Totally.
      Who cares what the actual stats say, just pick a player and go with it.
      So what is that player bats .083 against righties and the other bats .300, you start the .083 player because PLATOONS R THE BADZ BECAUSE THE CUBZ HAVE NO RUNZ IN 6 INNINGS!!!

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