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busch stadiumCarlos Villanueva makes his second start for the Cubs, and it will hopefully go as well as the first one. You’re not looking for Villanueva to dominate (though you’d always love to see that), but you’d like to see the Cubs head into the later innings of the game with a chance to win.

That could be tough today, though, because the guy on the other side is Adam Wainwright. Who is very good. Always.

Emilio Bonifacio gets the day off today, so Junior Lake has the unenviable task of going up first against Wainwright. It’s an interesting lineup, without a clear platoon bent (for his career, Wainwright has a 57-point OPS split against lefties and righties, so it’s not huge). Mike Olt does not get the start today, which could just a matter of not wanting to put too many righties in the lineup. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that he was shaking out and stretching his shoulder after a slide back to first last night. That’s the shoulder that gave him trouble all of Spring Training.

With a win today or tomorrow, the Cubs can win their first series of the year, which would be damn skippy.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (4-6) at St. Louis Cardinals (5-5), 1:15 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

Carlos Villanueva (4.26 ERA, 4.48 FIP, 4.31 xFIP; 4.00 K/BB)

versus

Adam Wainwright (1.29 ERA, 2.21 FIP, 3.16 xFIP; 2.67 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. Jon Jay, CF

8. Daniel Descalso, SS

9. Adam Wainwright, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Junior Lake, LF

2. Luis Valbuena, 3B

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Nate Schierholtz, RF

5. Ryan Sweeney, CF

6. Starlin Castro, SS

7. Darwin Barney, 2B

8. John Baker, C

9. Carlos Villanueva, P

  • FortyFour

    Would love to see the Cubs beat the Cardinals today and then be tied with them in the standings. Rizzo and Castro are hot so hopefully they can do some damage to Wainwright today.

  • Jon

    The combination of Baker and Barney makes for a real rough lineup

    • cubfanincardinalland

      Barney had had some of his best career games against st. Louis and Wainwright.

    • JacqueJones

      todays a good day to give castillo a day off too. Tough righty, plus a day game after a long night game.

      • JasonP

        And Welly was in the dirt all night blocking pitches – it was an extra long game.

  • MightyBear

    81 more victories to go. Cubs should be 7-3 right now and could easily be 9-1. Easily. This team is better than people surmise. Once they believe that, things could get real interesting real fast.

    • JasonP

      They have an even run differential. They’re not supposed to win all the 1-run games; these things happen. This team could easily be 6-9 wins with a few more hits and a little better bullpen pitching; but this roster is only so capable of getting good outings from the bullpen and getting hit from certain parts of the lineup.

      If Castro and Rizzo sustain above average to all-star production, if Wood pitches as well as last year, Samardzija doesn’t have stretches with no control / not great stuff (like he has every year), if Edwin Jackson and Jason Hammel look more like their 2011-12 selves than what they did last year, if Rondon, Veras, or Strop steps up and is a solid closer, if a viable lefty option emerges in the pen, if all the platoon mixes add up to 2-3 WAR at each position and one player like Olt, Lake or Bonifacio plays well enough all year to hold down an everyday starting role — then this team can maybe win 85-90 games – with some good production being added mid season from the minors and/or trades….. None of those are impossible or completely unlikely outcomes but all or most of those things going right is an extreme longshot.

      • MightyBear

        You know what happens when you bet on the longshot and they come in?

        You win big, baby.

  • IA_Colin

    Over/Under on Wainwright’s Ks? I’d set at 11 and take the over…Saying that Cubs still win! Lake and Rizzo with bombs!

    • Funn Dave

      “Lake and Rizzo with bombs!”

      One down, one to go!

  • Medicos

    Based on the today’s lineup and the 1st 10-games, it’s becoming obvious that RR is going to be mixing and matching his batting order based on who’s ever on the mound for the opposition that day. It’s great that he giving Castillo and Bonifacio the day off after that agonizing, gut wrenching victory last nite. It’s been awhile since the Cubs won a series. Let’s do it today. It’ll be interesting to see if Rosenthal pitches for the Cards Monday nite since it’s Passover. I can still remember Koufax not pitching in the WS for LA because he flew back to New York to be in temple for Yom Kipper.

    • Jon
      • candyland07

        That is an odd website/page . players that are not Jewish ? Why would someone put up a page like that. My religion is private and its just so weird .

        • Funn Dave

          I think it’s very cool that that website exists. I think it’s unfortunate that people make assumptions about other people’s religion based on their names, and this website is a great way to clear up those assumptions.

      • Medicos

        Jon—Thanks for the info on Rosenthal. It’s amazing that during the past season I’ve come across numerous African-American NFL players with more often than not Jewish last names such as: Fox, Levin, Ginsberg, Goldberg, Stein, Cohen, Kanter, and Hirsch.

      • http://bleachernation.com woody

        Where in the hell did you find that website?

        • Medicos

          Woody: Check out the website that Jon discovered. Quite interesting.

      • MightyBear

        Not that I really care about this but I thought Rod Carew converted to Judaism.

        This is ruining Adam Sandler’s Hanukkah song.

  • JasonP

    I’m calling a Mike Olt pinch hit HR in the eighth to give the Cubs a lead and Rondon gets the save.

    Or Wainwright destroys us and it’s a 7-0 shellacking.

  • JasonP

    Can we take an over/under on total sac bunts + relievers left in to hit today?

    I’ll place it at 6.5

    • C. Steadman

      Over 7 sac bunts

  • C. Steadman

    WOOOOOOWWWWWWWW

  • mjhurdle

    BOOM! Lake bomb

    • blublud

      Most people here think he sucks.

      • mjhurdle

        well, him hitting a HR right now really doesn’t say one way or the other whether he sucks or not.
        he isn’t having a great season, but hopefully this gets him going a little bit.

  • cubsluver22

    Lakeeeeeeeee!!!’

  • MightyBear

    Good start

  • cubsluver22

    Oh shit Valbuena about did it too

  • cubsluver22

    I love these jerseys

  • Patrick W.
    • Funn Dave

      Yes he was. Thanks for the charts to back it up.

  • mjhurdle

    Cubs getting some real solid contact against Waino.

    • cubsluver22

      He don’t seem to have his breaking ball today and is leaving some meatballs up in the zone

  • mjhurdle

    This might get ugly fast.
    Villanueva is throwing up 88 mph flat pitches right done the zone.

  • cubsluver22

    The flood gates have opened

  • JasonP

    Getting ugly quick

  • mjhurdle

    looks like the team might be saving up for tomorrow. Rizzo whiffing on cut off throws, V grooving pitches so hittable it makes Decalso and Wainwright looks like Babe Ruth.

    • cubsluver22

      Chance tomorrow’s game getting in might be getting thin as they’re calling for rain

  • cubsluver22

    RR rubbing off on Matheny…. Failed safety squeeze but no worries Wainwright just drives 1 through the hole

  • mjhurdle

    seriously, i don’t think ive seen a pitch faster that 88, or slower than 84. and NOTHING he is throwing has any movement.
    Just gotta hope they hit it hard at someone.

  • mjhurdle

    good effort from Castro

  • KHRSS

    Villanueva sucks, with Jackson going tomorrow this series is done.

  • cubsluver22

    Nice try by Castro

  • JasonP

    Going to Rusin time soon

  • mjhurdle

    hopefully more of the Cubs hard hits against Waino stop falling, because V is going to give up more.

  • Jon

    Arrietta can’t get here soon enough

    • JasonP

      Assuming he’s got much improved control

  • waittilthisyear

    boy-o starlin is looking good today

  • JasonP

    Castro looking very competent in the field

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      Was just going to comment on that. Not just looking good… getting TONS of looks. Probably exhausted. And another!

    • JasonP

      More than competent

  • cubsluver22

    Who’s the Cubs SS?

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