Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

St_Louis_CardinalsThe Cubs have played three series this year, and have lost all three 2-1. What better place to win their first than in St. Louis, right? It’s conceivable, dudes.

The Series Preview gives you the rundown on what you need to know for the upcoming series. In that way, it’s kind of a preview. About a series. See how that works?

We’re Going Streaking

The Cubs should have won their first series of the year against the Pirates with a win yesterday, but a bullpen implosion (and, let’s be honest, an inability to add runs after the third inning, including a frustrating teaser rally in the 9th) negated that possibility. So it’s 3-6 for the Cubs on the year.

The Cardinals have won two series against the Reds this year, with a series loss to the Pirates sandwiched in between. So … with a sweep, the Cubs could pass the Cardinals in the standings! Hooray, April!

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Friday, April 11 at 7:15 CT on CSN+.
  • Saturday, April 12 at 1:15 CT on CSN.
  • Sunday, April 13 at 1:15 CT on WGN.

Expected Starters and Lineups

These lineups are likely to be pretty close to what actually gets fielded, but you’ll want to check each day’s Pre-Gamin’ post for the actual lineup.


Starters: Jeff Samardzija (1.29 ERA, 3.67 FIP; 2.20 K/BB), Carlos Villanueva (4.26 ERA, 4.51 FIP;4.00 K/BB), Edwin Jackson (6.30 ERA, 4.44 FIP;1.13 K/BB)

Lineup (just an early guess, and it’s obviously still a little nuts with the versatility):

  1. Emilio Bonifacio, CF/2B
  2. Junior Lake, LF (or Luis Valbuena or Ryan Kalish)
  3. Starlin Castro, SS
  4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B (or Justin Ruggiano, when he’s in there)
  5. Mike Olt, 3B
  6. Nate Schierholtz, RF
  7. Welington Castillo, C
  8. Darwin Barney, 2B
  9. Pitcher


Starters: Joe Kelly (1.69 ERA, 4.56 FIP; 1.00 K/BB), Adam Wainwright (1.29 ERA, 2.24 FIP; 2.67 K/BB), Michael Wacha (0.71 ERA, 2.37 FIP; 5.00 K/BB)


  1. Matt Carpenter, 3B
  2. Kolton Wong, 2B
  3. Matt Holliday, LF
  4. Allen Craig, RF
  5. Yadier Molina, C
  6. Matt Adams, 1B
  7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  8. Peter Bourjos, CF
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

The two hottest Cubs of late are probably the two guys you’d want to see getting hot. Anthony Rizzo is hitting .611/.667/.722 over his last five games, with a hit in each game. Starlin Castro is hitting .448/.448/.690 over his own seven-game hitting streak.

Emilio Bonifacio did not – I repeat: did not – have a hit yesterday. This is unacceptable.

Edwin Jackson was flat bad his last time out, consistently missing his spots, and consistently up in the zone. Hopefully he’ll be able to rectify that this time around, or it’ll be another round of batting practice for the Cardinals.

In the last 30 innings pitched by Justin Grimm and Hector Rondon, they have allowed two earned runs. That’s it.

It hasn’t quite clicked yet for Welington Castillo (.248 wOBA), Ryan Sweeney (.184 wOBA), or Nate Schierholtz (.178 wOBA).

When he’s not shoving fans, Matt Adams is hitting the baseball for the Cardinals: .364/.400/.485 on the year. Yadier Molina already has three homers, and Matt Carpenter has a .425 OBP. They’re just doing what they do.

The pixie dust may be coming off of Allen Craig, though, who is hitting just .097/.121/.097 so far this year. Not that it’s much of a sample. New acquisitions Jhonny Peralta and Peter Bourjos aren’t doing anything yet, either.

As you can see from the lines above, Michael Wacha and Adam Wainwright have been incredibly good through two starts this year (what else is new?). That Saturday matchup looks particularly tough, with Carlos Villanueva going against Wainwright. Probably need to win tonight’s Samardzija/Kelly outing to have a good chance at picking up a series win.

Note: As you’re just now noticing, the Series She-View has been retired for the 2014 season. I know for some of you this will be a disheartening development (and I’d encourage you to take it to the Message Board if you’d like to continue the tradition). It was just time to move on.

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