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wrigley field from right bleachersThe Cubs will look to win their first series of the year (copy, paste), this time at home against the Cardinals. It’s going to be a tough one today.

That’s because the Cubs face Adam Wainwright, who is just always good, damn it. Travis Wood better bring his best on the mound, and at the plate.

The Cubs are stacking the lineup with lefties today, which could help a little bit: lefties get a near 60-point bump in OPS against Wainwright over his career. Of course, if you look at just the last two years (when he’s been insanely good), there’s not really much of a platoon split at all.

As for the Cardinals, they’ll be sending out the young outfielder they got from the Angels in the David Freese trade – no, not Peter Bourjos. It’s Randal Grichuk (who feels like he’s missing at least two letters in his name), who was recently called up after a hot start at AAA. He’s just 22, but looked to be stalling out in the Angels’ system. It would be so very Cardinals for him to break out immediately upon arriving in St. Louis. Voodoo freaking magic.

Game Info

St. Louis Cardinals (15-14) at Chicago Cubs (9-17), 1:20 CT on CSN, MLBN.

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

Adam Wainwright (1.20 ERA, 2.34 FIP, 3.17 xFIP; 3.82 K/BB)

versus

Travis Wood (3.52 ERA, 3.25 FIP, 3.45 xFIP; 4.43 K/BB)

St. Louis Cardinals Lineup

1. Matt Carpenter, 3B

2. Jhonny Peralta, SS

3. Matt Holliday, LF

4. Allen Craig, RF

5. Yadier Molina, C

6. Jon Jay, CF

7. Randal Grichuk, LF

8. Mark Ellis, 2B

9. Adam Wainwright, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Emilio Bonifacio, 2B

2. Luis Valbuena, 3B

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Starlin Castro, SS

5. Nate Schierholtz, RF

6. Ryan Sweeney, CF

7. Welington Castillo, C

8. Ryan Kalish, LF

9. Travis Wood, P

  • Greenroom

    Hi. Looks like St. Louis is missing a 1st baseman. peace~

  • Paddy26

    Cardinals fielding two left fielders, huh? We’ll see how that works out for them.

    • Brocktoon

      It’s an interesting strategy Cotton.

  • Napercal

    Apparently Wainwirght is planning on pitching only fly balls.

    • DarthHater

      Well, they have no 1B, so all flyballs might be a damn good idea.

    • Edwin

      That’s the Cardinals for you. Always a step ahead.

    • DarthHater

      Sorry. Captain Obvious hacked my account. :-P

  • Jed Jam Band

    Grichuk is just such a Cardinals name.

  • Pepitones wig

    Anyone see the Cub den article on trading Shark to the Jays?

    Interesting

    • EQ76

      Yep… said that the Cubs are scouting Marcus Stroman…

    • Jed Jam Band

      If the Blue Jays were actually willing to give up Stroman, that would be fantastic. I think they might consider it, but paired with Sanchez….that would be a lot for them to give up.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        I doubt the Cubs could get Sanchez and Stroman. And of the two, due to his very good control, I’d actually prefer Stroman. I think he’s the safer bet.

        Stroman, one of their lefties, and someone else and I think we’re good.

      • JCubs79

        Gimme Stroman and Norris and call it a day.

  • Jon

    Cubs can get more than Stroman + change. Patience. Patience.

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      Stroman, Norris, and a guy like Jimenez is a pretty solid return, but at this moment (at least until early July), if I’m the Cubs, I’m holding out for Stroman and Sanchez, no matter how unrealistic that may be.

  • another JP

    Stroman and Nolin would be a good return for JS and maybe the Cubs could unload some other unnecessary players the Jays could use… Barney, Nate-the-not-so-Great, etc.

    Looking at the first month of the year, the Cubs aren’t really that bad a team. The RD of -9 is better than the Rays, Red Sox, Orioles, and Yankees. When you get right down to it, the main fault for our record can be laid at the feet of four players in particular- Veras, Baker, Sweeney, & Schierholtz. They’ve all been epically bad; Sweeney & Schierholtz are in the worst slumps of their careers while Veras & Baker probably should have never been signed in the first place. If Sweeney & Nate can get back to last year’s production levels and Baker/Veras get less PT this team could start getting somewhere.

  • josh ruiter

    Stroman and Nolin isn’t as good as it sounds. Stroman is widely considered a future reliever because of his small size and Nolin is a future 3/4, MAYBE if everything breaks right. I would say Stroman, Norris, and Osuna is closer or Sanchez & Stroman or Sanchez, Norris and Tirado could get it done in my mind. Shark is throwing better than ever and has appeared to learn how to use his insane gifts. They get nearly 2 years of solid 2 possible 1 pitching…they have to give WAAAAYYY more than the Rangers, IMO.

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      Ya Stroman and Nolin is not enough, although I definitely think Stroman is a starter. There is a difference between a guy like CJ Edwards (6’2″ 155) and Stroman (5’10″ 185) when it comes to durability. He’s short, but he’s built like a house so I have no questions about his durability. I think the Cubs, at least for the next couple of months should hold out for Stroman and Sanchez, but if the Blue Jays don’t budge on that, I’m ok with a Stroman, Norris, and Jimenez package.

    • JCubs79

      Stroman isn’t widely considered to be a future reliever at all. Some believe he is destined to be a bullpen guy,

  • Patrick W.

    Valbuena has no business starting this game!

    • Required

      I beg to differ. I think a lot of people will agree.

    • DarthHater

      That does it. You are hereby deposed as Official BN Message Board Ombudsdouche.

    • Patrick W.

      Sorry, I was paraphrasing this gem from about an hour ago:

      “Valbuena shouldn’t see the light of day at 3b unless emergency start.”

      And, I have a lifetime appointment Darth so you are out of order.

      • DarthHater

        I put you in that position, and I can take you out of it. :-P

  • willis

    That was fun. Go figure, Wainwright is on a long scoreless streak and this offense breaks it. Baseball is weird.

    Let’s see if Wood can make it stick.

  • cubmig

    Damn…..another early lead…….time to worry again. BUT…..I’ll take it, gladly with it coming off Wainright!

  • cubmig

    Cubs seem to have Wainwright’s number………

  • Jon

    Don’t stop now boys! WrainWrong blowssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Jason P

      “WrainWrong”

      Ha. How creative :)

  • cubmig

    ……….damn. what a shame. 2 risp, no outs and nada……..oh well, maybe next time Cubs WILL make Wainwright pay.

  • Jon

    Call me high…but I wouldn’t have minded a suicide squeeze there with Kalish.

  • cubmig

    sonnaofabitch…………………………….c’mon wood………

  • willis

    Nope, can’t make it stick. Such is the life.

    Should have scored a couple more.

  • jonred

    What’s worse…leaving 2 runners in scoring position with no outs or giving up two runs after two outs? Discuss…

  • cubmig

    It never seems to fail. Cubs get a nice lead against a top pitcher and the chance to break the game open with a bigger lead—- and as quick as the chance to jump out front more fails, the bottom falls out swallowing up the Cubs lead….fuck.

  • Darth Ivy

    Castro triple….check time stamp

    • Darth Ivy

      I misspelled single. We need that edit button

  • willis

    Man, Castillo looks great at the plate this year. And they are teeing off on Wainwright. Pretty amazing and pretty awesome.

  • ssckelley

    They really pitching around Kalish?

  • TWC

    I laugh at everyone’s pessimism.

  • cubmig

    It never fails——–too surprise. Cubs plate patience + a master stroke happenin’ at the right time and the Cubs’ lead is BACK BABY! LOL!!!!!

    Me thinks Matheny is thinking: Wainwright ‘ain’tright.

  • TimBeam

    Rizzo’s walk rate is driving me crazy.
    In a good way.
    And Castillo is developing into a top 10 catcher. BRIGHT THINGS!

  • Blackhawks1963

    Put me down for saying Samardzija is traded within the next 10 days. It is my growing sense that TheoJed are ready to pull the rip chord.

    • TWC

      I look forward to your hourly reminders of this for the next ten days. Should be fun.

      • DarthHater

        There is a zero percent chance it will be fun.

  • Pepitones wig

    Who are these guys and what have they done with the Cubs?

  • cubmig

    Old karate saying: “Mind leads, body follows.” Castro needs to remember that one. He took that fielded ground ball easy, but must have let that “easiness” relax his brain on the throw.

    ………a premier ss can’t “rest” that way.

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      Eh the throw being poor was all physical. JD described it perfectly, he fielded it on his heels and then stood straight up instead of staying low through the throw.

      • TWC

        It’s much easier to feel superior to ballplayers you don’t like if you just assume they’re dumb.

      • cubmig

        ………….so the mind has nothing to do with body control?—–ahhh….ok.

        • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

          In baseball, a lot of the time I would argue no. These plays are made so quickly, that players rely on instinct and repetition. Completely independent, no, but the physical is much more important than the mental on plays like that.

          • cubmig

            Which leads me to: ….if instinct and repetition are the basis for a body-o-matic (just coined that term) response, the only thing that can trip that up is a “mental glitch”.

  • another JP

    If I’m Renteria the top of the order should be Bono, Valbuena, Rizzo, and Castro from now on. Bonafacio and Valbuena not only have the speed and OBP to justify being at the top of the order, they see a TON of pitches. Waino up to 85 pitches in the 4th inning. Having a patient hitter like Rizzo doesn’t hurt either. Get Nate going along with Beef in the six spot and that’s a fairly productive offense.

    • Blackhawks1963

      Valbuena is superior to Olt. That much is clear, which is not saying much. Suffice to say there is little to block Bryant or Baez when they are ready.

      • another JP

        Yes indeed- Bryant, Baez, and Arismendy in the lineup along with today’s 1-6 hitters would be mighty fine. Bonafacio, Alcantara, Rizzo, Bryant, Baez, Castro, Castillo, Valbuena, P… niiice.

      • ssckelley

        You go over the top when you get down on a player. Olt could use more seasoning in AAA, but he still could very well turn into a productive 3rd baseman. This start by Olt could very well happen to Baez, Bryant, and any other prospect the Cubs call up. Slow starts and adjusting to major league pitching does happen.

  • Karl Groucho

    A RIZZOMER!!!!

    • another JP

      Rizz on fire. Wow….

    • cubmig

      A “RIZZOMER”—–like that!

    • CubChymyst

      “RIZZOMER” has a good ring to it.

      • Medicos

        “RIZZOMER” SOUNDS GOOD. REMINDS ME OF THAT CHARACTER FROM THE CLASSIC FLICK “GREASE”

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