Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

wrigley field from right bleachersThree games in a row. First series win. Great debut for Jake Arrieta.

That’s all on the line today, and it just so happens to be against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field. It’s hard to call a game in May a “big” one, especially when the team is 10-17 and doesn’t figure to be a playoff contender anyway, but this is probably about as “big” as games will get for the Cubs for now.

Arrieta was slowed by a stiff shoulder in Spring Training, so the Cubs took it easy with the talented righty. Arrieta has always had the stuff to be a front of the rotation starter, but hasn’t put it all together (mostly, it’s been a command issue). At 28, he’s young enough to be part of the Cubs’ rotation going forward for several years, but, if it’s going to happen, it’s probably got to click for him this year. (He could always fall back on a bullpen role, but that’s a discussion for another day – hopefully one that never comes).

Arrieta is opposed by young Cardinals stud Michael Wacha, who was quickly churned out of the Cardinals’ pitching factory after being a mid-first-round pick in 2012.

The Ryan Sweeney injury is probably going to result in more starts for Junior Lake (because outfield) and Mike Olt (because Bonifacio will be a regular in center, leaving a second base platoon role for Valbuena, leaving third base for Olt). They are hitting at the bottom of the order, though, with Olt all the way down at 8th.

Game Info

St. Louis Cardinals (15-15) at Chicago Cubs (10-17), 12:05 CT on CSN, FS1.

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

Michael Wacha (2.48 ERA, 2.58 FIP, 2.78 xFIP; 4.40 K/BB)


Jake Arrieta (Season Debut)

St. Louis Cardinals Lineup

1. Matt Carpenter, 3B

2. Allen Craig, RF

3. Matt Holliday, LF

4. Matt Adams, 1B

5. Yadier Molina, C

6. Jhonny Peralta, SS

7. Jon Jay, CF

8. Greg Garcia, 2B

9. Michael Wacha, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Emilio Bonifacio, CF

2. Luis Valbuena, 2B

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Starlin Castro, SS

5. Nate Schierholtz, RF

6. Welington Castillo, C

7. Junior Lake, LF

8. Mike Olt, 3B

9. Jake Arrieta, P

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