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St_Louis_CardinalsThe Cardinals come to Chicago for a 1920s weekend home series, and the Cubs are still looking for their first series win.

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 split their rain-shortened two-game set in Cincinnati this week, putting together one of their best overall games on Wednesday. They, however, are just 9-17 on the year, far behind the Brewers and …

The Cardinals, who are 15-14, having just dropped two of three to those Brewers. They’ve actually lost seven of their last eleven, so there’s that. If they get swept by the Cubs, they’ll be tied in the loss column!

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Friday, May 2 at 1:20 CT on CSN, MLBN.
  • Saturday, May 3 at 12:05 CT on CSN+, FS1.
  • Sunday, May 4 at 7:05 CT on ESPN.

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.

Cubs

Starters: Travis Wood (3.52 ERA, 3.26 FIP; 4.43 K/BB), Jake Arrieta (Season Debut), Jason Hammel (2.08 ERA, 4.06 FIP; 3.86 K/BB)

Lineup (with obvious rotations in place):

  1. Emilio Bonifacio, CF
  2. Luis Valbuena, 2B
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Starlin Castro, SS
  5. Nate Schierholtz, RF
  6. Mike Olt, 3B
  7. Welington Castillo, C
  8. Ryan Kalish, LF
  9. Pitcher

Cardinals

Starters: Adam Wainwright (1.20 ERA, 2.35 FIP; 3.82 K/BB), Michael Wacha (2.48 ERA, 2.58 FIP; 4.40 K/BB), Lance Lynn (3.60 ERA, 3.45 FIP; 3.64 K/BB)

Lineup:

  1. Matt Carpenter, 3B
  2. Jon Jay, CF
  3. Matt Holliday, LF
  4. Matt Adams, 1B
  5. Yadier Molina, C
  6. Allen Craig, RF
  7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  8. Mark Ellis, 2B
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Jake Arrieta makes his season debut! That’ll be cool, and hopefully he looks sharp and healthy. Beyond that, I don’t want to hope for too much too early.

If you want to know which bats are hot, you can just look back upon this post and smile.

You can add in Ryan Kalish, who’s gone .429/.455/.476 over his last 10 games. Then again, that’s pretty much entirely batting average-driven, which isn’t typically sustainable over a very long stretch (that 10-game span includes just one walk and one extra base hit).

Nate Schierholtz I’m-a-little-nervous-but-it’s-still-early watch: .217/.227/.265. Yikes.

Adam Wainwright comes into this series having not allowed a run in his last 25 innings. I can only assume the Cubs are the kind of team that would break such a streak.

Although he started out ice cold, Jhonny Peralta has been on fire of late, hitting .333/.407/.667 in his last six games.

Is the voodoo magic shine wearing off of Matt Carpenter right after he signed that big extension? Probably not, since, you know, Cardinals, but he’s hitting .242/.333/.288 in his last 17 games after a hot start to the year.

So far, Peter Bourjos is doing a whole lot of nothing for the Cardinals: .160/.250/.260. Oscar Taveras waits in the wings …

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.

  • tony290025

    Brett,

    Quick question off topic. Being as you are an attorney, do you think the the Cubs choice to limit their payroll is an attempt to lower the value of the rooftops business, and limit the damages they can recover in a lawsuit? Basically I’m asking if a court is likely to look at the rooftops past and current season earning to establish what damages the Cubs would be liable for? The past few years the Cubs knew they did not have the core or the depth to field a team with a shot of winning the series, so why field a team .500 club that will bolster the attendance at the rooftops and increase the damages the rooftops could recover multiplied by the number of years the contract extends for. I know the Cubs take a hit on ticket sales, however when you look at the the cost of those extra interim players, and the increased damages over X number of years it seems like a viable reason for the lack of spending. I could be completely wrong but what do you think?

    • bbmoney

      That’s approaching Diehardian conspiracy level status. I think you’re going too far.

      Of course, I’m not Brett, nor am I a lawyer. But I have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express at some point in my life (probably) so I most likely know what I’m talking about.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That would be some serious cutting off your nose to spite your face. Without even touching the legal side of it, you’re talking about losing out on $30 to $50 million annually in order to save $10 million (or whatever lesser proportion the rooftops sales are relative to Cubs sales). Even if you tried to calculate damages over the course of the rest of the contract – which would be a complete loss for the business, just some kind of reduction for a couple of them tied to signs – it’s too small of potential savings to be a driving factor in any decisions. A factor at all? I doubt even that.

      • Edwin

        I almost used that exact same phrase.

    • Edwin

      I don’t think the possible gains in lower damages to rooftops would even begin to offset the loss in revenue due to fewer fans showing up.

    • DarthHater

      “I could be completely wrong”

      Yep.

  • Thiscantbegood

    Sweeney and Kalish both get the nod today while Olt and Lake both sit out. Makes sense I think so, because Wainwright is a dominate RHP. Hopefully I get to see Lake and Olt play Sunday night I will be there! Go Cubs Go!

    • Voice of Reason

      It makes sense because we need to sit Olt and Lake who might be part of our future or they might not. Let’s not play them against a really good right hander. That way we won’t be able to continue to evaluate them. IT’S STUPID!

      Both Olt and Lake need to be out their everyday. I don’t care if God is toeing the fucking rubber. Why are we wasting time in evaulating Olt? Once he gets enough at bats to see if he is our third baseman moving forward then we can start figuring out what to do with Villanueva and Bryant. If Olt is not the third baseman of the future then cut bait and get Villanueva or Bryant up to play third. Why the fuck play Valbuena or anybody who we know does not have a future at third? It’s a waste of time and at bats. Let me remind everyone that we have not won a World Series in over 100 years. I want things to move along quickly in areas that we can control.

      • Edwin

        Valbuena has a better future at 3B right now than Olt.

        • Voice of Reason

          We don’t know for sure if Olt can make it. It doesn’t look good. Valbuena is not the answer, we already know that.

          Get Olt enough at bats to make a determination. If it’s not him then we have TWO OTHER THIRD BASE prospects waiting in the wings. Don’t waste at bats with other bums who are not the potential future. I can understand playing Valbuena at second because we don’t have a young stud ready to come up and play. Not only do we have a third baseman to audition right now, but we have two others waiting to come up. Quit fucking around and wasting at bats.

          • mjhurdle

            “Get Olt enough at bats to make a determination.”

            Apparently the Cubs agree, because this is exactly what they are doing. (on pace for 400+ ABs this year)

            • Voice of Reason

              He should be playing against Wainwright. He should be playing everyday. Why waste 4 at bats by giving them to Valbuena? What does that do? It’s a waste. Everday that Olt plays gets us closer to knowing if he is our third baseman of the future. And, we need to know what the kid is made of. See how he performs against Wainwright.

              • Jed Jam Band

                Feel like I have to explain this to someone every other day. The Cubs have given about twice as many plate appearances to Olt against righties than they have against lefties. Olt has a crazy split (albeit in SSS) going on right now here he has a 151 wRC+ versus lefties and a 1 wRC+ versus righties. Basically, he has to hit the average righties before the Cubs can feel confident putting him up there against a dominant one like Wainwright. Either way, his BABIP is seriously depressed against both handednesses, so that is likely to see some regression. He is not likely a high-average guy anyways, but it is reasonable to expect him to hit .230-ish over the course of a season. If he does that and continues to hit with power, he can be valuable. But right now he is striking out over 40% of the time against righties, so you’ll have to excuse the Cubs for giving him a day off here and there.

                • DarthHater

                  Come on, Jed. Stop being such a voice of unreason.

                  • Jed Jam Band

                    I should change my name to that, Darth.

                • Pepitones wig

                  Even as a proponent of every day playing, I’m fine with him sitting vs Wainwright.

                  • waittilthisyear

                    jon, is this one of your legendary discussion starters?

                • Voice of Reason

                  Hey Jed jam,

                  You can show me all the numbers on paper that you want. Did you know based on numbers the cubs should be two games under?

                  Olt needs to play everyday he can. Its about using available at bats for third base each game. You don’t waste them on valbuena. You see what Olt has after s given number of at bats. Not enough to make a decision yet though it doesn’t look good.

                  Hurry because if olt isn’t the answer we have two other third baseman.

                  And, no matter when plays third we lose 100 games so let Olt play. It makes no difference.

                  • Edwin

                    Valbuena still has value. He’s a decent fielder, he can play multiple positions, he’s cheap, he gets on base, and he’s only 28 (turning 29 in November). He might not be the starting 3B of the future, but he could still be a decent utility player. At the very least, he could have some trade value and bring back a minor prospect, which is better than nothing.

                    Of the other two 3B options, one is struggling in AAA, and the other is still making his way through the minors.

                    Currently, Valbuena is the best choice to start at 3B against RHP.

                    • Voice of Reason

                      I’m feeling you on Olt and that he might be a Jeff Baker type. BUT, let’s be sure. Let’s get him in every game and get him enough at bats so we can make that decision. Then we can say for sure what his future is.

                      Until then, let him play against Wainwright. It doesn’t matter if we win or lose the game. Olt could club a home run and Valbuena could go 0-4. Either way it doesn’t matter. What does matter is analyzing Olt.

                    • Edwin

                      If Olt is terrible over 400 PA, giving him an extra 200 PA just to make sure he’s terrible is a waste of 200 PA.

                  • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                    You realize the numbers on paper are telling you exactly what you want to know?

                    • Voice of Reason

                      The numbers that the cubs should be two games under .500?

                      Its more than just Olt getting a hit or striking out. Its about how he handles each at bat against a really good pitcher.

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

                    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                      Now you are just being obtuse to be obtuse.

                    • Jon

                      I’ll settle this debate right now, Mike Olt fucking blows. Full stop. End of story.

                      He’s a part time seat warmer until Kris Bryant is ready. Don’t think Bryant can handle 3rd? Think again, CSN had a profile on him and he looked pretty damn slick in the field at third. In addition to game reports that report nothing but positive on his defense.

                    • Patrick W.

                      Well it’s only 11 at bats but Valbuena is hitting .364/.417/.636 vs. Wainwright.

                    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                      So far Mike Olt appears to be a Jeff Baker type. He might be able to stick around and add value as a platoon corner player.

              • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                RR: Hey, kid…I know you are having a rough year at the plate against right handers.

                Olt: Ya, I suck horribly at hitting right-handers so far…

                RR: Yup, so we are starting you against Wainwright.

                Olt: Isn’t he right-handed?

                RR: Yup. Hoping that you figure out how to hit RHP.

                Olt: Isn’t this RHP, Adam “Douche-bag Maghee” Wainwright?

                RR: Yup, he has posted a career high in Ks this year and is limiting RHB to a .203 wOBA this year

                Olt: Can I be traded back to the Rangers?

                • Jed Jam Band

                  Yeah, I think Olt has to be ok with this one.

                • Voice of Reason

                  Hansman continued….

                  Olt : can I be traded back to the rangers?

                  RR: ABSOLUTELY… we are building a team and seeing what you’ve got. You don’t want to play when I ask you too? I’ll get you down to Iowa right away and the organization will trade you asap. Good luck kid!

                  • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                    If that is what you took away from that, good God.

                    • mjhurdle

                      this logic is running rampant, and it is absolutely mind-boggling that people actually believe it.

                      Nowhere else in life is the answer to someone performing badly at easy tasks to give them harder tasks. It just doesn’t make sense.

                    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                      “But baseball isn’t real life!”
                      -Everyone who just got schooled on why an MLBer can have a bad month/year and still have a job or on why MLBers make so much money.

      • Brocktoon

        “Why are we wasting time in evaluating Olt?”

        An excellent question, though probably not in the way you intended.

    • TimBeam

      See you there on Sunday

      • Thiscantbegood

        This cant be good but I’m bringing a Cardinals fan to the game Sunday…

  • Edwin

    I’m hoping for a healthy dose of Neil Ramirez this series.

    • bonger0493

      3IP 9K’s

    • CubsFaninMS

      No doubt! He and/or Grimm may end up being the “sleeper” of the Garza trade. What if Grimm and Edwards turn into relievers, Ramirez becomes a 2/3 SP and Olt ends up being a AAAA player? That’s a huge win for a handful of Garza starts. It’ll certainly looked like we “kicked the Rangers’ teeth in”. lol

  • josh ruiter

    In response to Voice of Reason, along your thoughts as to the current roster and our perceived studs in the system look at the scenario all are hoping for.
    CF – Almora
    RF – Soler
    LF – Bryant
    C – Castillo
    1B – Rizzo
    2B – Alcantara
    3B – Baez
    SS – Castro
    never mind pitching for now…then you hope you can groom Olt for the utility role of 1B/3B, and Lake to be the 4th OFer that can play all the positions out there. Valbuena would ideally also fill that role as well as maybe Watkins? Right there you have a young core and 12 of your 13 roster spots taken care of. Even if those don’t all pan out, Villanueva, could man 3rd and Baez 2nd with Alcantara in the OF. Slice it any way you want that compilation of guys is who the FO is hoping pans out in some way. What we have seen from Olt is who he is. Power hitting, solid D guy with trouble making contact…Lake is another guy with pop, athleticism but without a great hit tool. Those are the kinds of guys that turn into bench guys who see regular time but not significant roles. If you are really worried about the future, then those guys have to play to their future roles, and EARN there everyday spot. Guys like Bryant, Baez, Soler, Almora, Alcantara won’t be coming to the bigs to fill those roles of situational starts looking to earn a shot…they will be given a shot if their milb numbers and specs suggest it, unlike Lake and Olt.

    • Jed Jam Band

      If this is in reply to Voice of Reason, ya know, you could have hit the reply button on his post and continued the thread there. Not to nitpick, but many of us here have often pointed out how this comment splintering kinda sucks. So, I ask you kindly to hit “reply” to the commenter you are responding to.

  • Voice of Reason

    It looks great on paper. Now, out of all those players, look for up to 3 to make it and stick. Sure some others might be role players, but not all of those positions will be filled by those people. It just won’t happen.

    But, we need to see what Olt can do. He needs to play every day. The evaluation process should be every day that he can go out there. What in the hell does he need a rest for? If he’s hurting that’s one thing, but if he can play, he needs to play. Giving bats to Valbuena? No wonder the last position player we developed who stuck with the team for an extended period of time is Mark Grace.

    • Jed Jam Band

      Seriously, this is getting tiring. Do you understand what happened to Olt last season? Do you get that the guy had an eye scare and was not certain that his baseball career would even be able to continue? After going through that, the Cubs likely do not want to have him get overwhelmed all the time. Despite all of this, it has been pointed out to you already that Olt is on pace for over 400 PA’s (pretty solid number) and is being given opportunities to face righties on a regular basis. Hell, they have even started having Valbuena play a little more second to accomodate more Olt playing time. You have to understand that he simply IS NOT hitting righties well at all. So, against someone like Wainwright, it is just logical to start Valbuena at 3B instead. If you cannot hit below-average and average righties, why should you be expected to hit one of baseball’s most well-established, dominant starting pitchers? Do you really want to see Olt strike out 4 times in one game that badly? Are you a masochist?

      • Voice of Reason

        I’m glad he’s on base for 400 at bats. Let’s get him there as soon as possible so we can decide if he is our third baseman or not.

        I don’t give a shit how good wainwright is. Olt could fare just as well as valbuena against him. And if Olt strikes out four times then he strikes out four times. All part of the evaluation process.

        I’m glad the cubs agree with me and are playing him more. I’ve been a proponent of this since game 1. They just need to play him every day he’s healthy.

        Its all part of the evaluation.

        • baldtaxguy

          I really don’t care about this, but why is it important that the 400 (or whatever #) Olt ab’s occur sooner than later? Won’t we know either way at season’s end what we have in Olt, if anything? Is there someone else that needs the playing time this season at 3B? Bryant should finish the season at Iowa and CV should split time at DH and 1B also at Iowa.

          So, that said, my preference is actually to play Olt everyday anyway, since I believe the lineup is infinitely better with him in it, Bonifacio in CF and Valbuena at 2B. Just do this and keep Barney out of the batters box.

      • Thiscantbegood

        Oh I couldn’t agree more. Im sure RR knows the players he is managing more than any of us. So let him do his job, if Olt was on fire right now he would be starting everyday for sure.

  • YourResidentJag
    • Jon

      Question, is there much of a difference between players purposely throwing a game/series, and a Front office purposely throwing a season? Multiple seasons?

      • gocatsgo2003

        Aside from outside influence from bettors? Not really… but that’s a gigantic difference.

      • Edwin

        Yes.

      • mjhurdle

        answer: yes. There is such a large difference that it is easily apparent to anyone that is even a casual fan of the game.

      • Jed Jam Band

        HUGE difference.

        • Jon

          Outside of gambling considerations, what is that “Huge” difference.

          Both involve “purposely losing” which does cheat the game. The NBA instituted the lottery to stop tanking, I wouldn’t be surprised to see baseball do the same as well at some point.

          • bbmoney

            I’d be in favor of that. But until then…..I don’t have a problem with teams like the Astros and Cubs doing what they’re doing.

            • Jon

              I think a draft “lottery” could be the best thing ever for the Cubs. We “hope” at least that this is the worst of this tanking and the Cubs will be approaching .500 soon. That would leave the door open for still some possible “high” picks. Maybe Selig can “wink wink” the Cubs a high pick now and then just like David Stern did for the Bulls in 2008.

              • Jed Jam Band

                Actually, the draft lottery has not stopped tanking by any means. I mean, did you watch this season in the East? In fact, the NBA is considering proposals to change the lottery in order to reduce tanking. The only way to eliminate tanking is to go the NFL route and implement severe salary controls, which would never work in baseball as MLB has a very different structure.

          • Edwin

            There’s a difference between players taking direct action to purposely lose a game, and an owner or GM taking indirect actions to field a non-competative team. In the first case, the players are actively trying to lose. In the second case, the players are (presumably) trying to win every game, they just lack the talent to do so.

          • DarthHater

            People can debate all they want about how “huge” the difference is, but there’s a difference.

            Scenario 1: FO decides it’s time for a major rebuild, guts the the big-league roster and does not put any effort into assembling a roster of quality major-leaguers for the next season.

            Scenario 2: Major league players take the field and don’t try to win the game.

            In scenario 1, fans may be pissed, but they can see what’s going on before the season and can choose not to buy tickets until the teams decides to try to be competitive again,

            In scenario 2, fans have purchased tickets and are entitled to see the players give a real effort to win.

            So, I’d say scenario 2 is significantly worse for business than scenario 1.

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  • CubsFaninMS

    Beede and Hoffman will have Tommy John surgery. God’s Wrath.

    Negative karma aside, I’m obviously no scout but feel quite a bit nervous about picking someone like Nick Gordon and his tools as a #4. We have no reason to doubt our amateur scouting department (well, maybe Zastryzny’s making me a little nervous) so I’ll rely on their judgment to ease my concerns if they indeed pick him.

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