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wrigley field from right bleachersThe Cubs couldn’t possibly sweep the Cardinals, right? Oh, but they can!

Technically, it’s possible.

The good news is that the Cubs have Jason Hammel going tonight, and he’s been as effective as just about any starter in baseball so far this year, and he was dominant last time out against the Brewers. Something to note about Hammel this year: although he’s been pitching well (passing the eye test), his BABIP against is a microscopic, and unsustainable, .138. His career mark is .306, so you can expect some regression there over time. (For that reason, his crazy 94.1% LOB rate will also regress.)

That all said, he’s striking guys out, getting groundballs, and not giving up walks. Hammel’s been good.

The Cubs’ lineup features some light bats at the bottom of the order, with John Baker and Darwin Barney getting starts. I don’t have a beef with getting guys work, but I’d point this out:

  • Lance Lynn career against righties: .236/.281/.346
  • Lance Lynn career against lefties: .265/.369/.433

That explains why Junior Lake is out of the lineup, even after his huge game, but it doesn’t quite explain why Chris Coghlan isn’t in there instead of Darwin Barney (shifting Bonifacio to second). Maybe neither Coghlan or Kalish can handle center field effectively at this point? Because if they can play well enough out there, this was the nice to stack the lineup with lefties. Instead, maybe it’s the fact that you’d expect to see some more groundballs tonight than usual with Hammel on the mound, and Ricky Renteria wants an optimal infield defense? That’s not a terrible explanation, actually.

It’s an ESPN game tonight, and the Cubs and Cardinals will be wearing throwbacks to 1929. So that’s cool.

Game Info

St. Louis Cardinals (15-16) at Chicago Cubs (11-17), 7:05 CT on ESPN.

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

Lance Lynn (3.60 ERA, 3.46 FIP, 3.27 xFIP; 3.64 K/BB)

versus

Jason Hammel (2.08 ERA, 4.07 FIP, 3.57 xFIP; 3.86 K/BB)

St. Louis Cardinals Lineup

1. Matt Carpenter, 3B

2. Yadier Molina, C

3. Matt Holliday, LF

4. Matt Adams, 1B

5. Allen Craig, RF

6. Jhonny Peralta, SS

7. Randal Grichuk, CF

8. Mark Ellis, 2B

9. Lance Lynn, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Emilio Bonifacio, CF

2. Luis Valbuena, 3B

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Starlin Castro, SS

5. Nate Schierholtz, RF

6. Ryan Kalish, LF

7. John Baker, C

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Jason Hammel, P

  • ChiCub55

    Rondon has some filthy stuff. I’m very excited to see where this role takes him.

  • BlameHendry

    Why is Rondon pitching? It should be Strop or Ramirez…

    • Soda Popinski

      Blame Hendry.

  • ChiCub55

    Braves are scuffling real bad…. time to revisit the Samardzija talks???

  • ClevelandCubsFan

    Game’s on the line. He’s been dominating. You get the outs you got to get and give the offense a chance to win it.

  • BlameHendry

    Bases loaded… Molina up. Time to shut the game off.

  • Soda Popinski

    Sheeeeeesh…

  • lnfihDeL

    Sigh,

    Cubes.

  • mjhurdle

    Molina helping Rondon by swinging at first pitch

  • lnfihDeL

    Fucking infuriating this team is.

    Guy starts being a good closer?

    He walks the bases loaded in front of a .330 hitter.

    In.Fur.I.At.ING

  • willis

    Definitely didn’t have his best stuff tonight, but that’s what happens with three straight days of work. Eventually will make a mistake. He didn’t have a clue where some of those pitches were going. And once Molina came up, you just know he’d win the game.

  • splatstrike

    Why they put him when he’s pitched for 4 straight games is beyond me…really not happy with RR here.

  • Jason P

    Rondon was on his 25th pitch in his third game in a row facing Yadier Molina with the bases loaded. That’s about as tough as it gets. And it’s not like Molina smoked one, it just found a hole. I’m not really sure why Renteria didn’t have a righty up there.

    • willis

      No shit. Rondon came out smoking but after that first walk, probably should have gotten both a righty and lefty up. He’s been so good this year, I suppose he was due for a meltdown.

  • willis

    At least it was a series win. Tonight sucks but still got the series.

  • WilliamGlass721

    It’s ralky time for us! :-)

    • WilliamGlass721

      rally time* I am going to stop posting until there is an edit button.

  • 70′s Cub

    That’s f ing coaching 2 walks in the 9th with a tired pitcher in a non save game. Double r has lost like 4 games w/the 9th inning coaching get your head out of your fucking ass.

  • ChiCub55

    Barney just simply doing what Barney does best…Yet another 0-fer and went down looking..

  • 70′s Cub

    Pissed when the Cubs give it away w/dumb ass coaching!

  • Jason P

    Well, here’s the obligatory teaser rally…

  • willis

    That was a rocket blast.

  • ChiCub55

    VALBUENA!!!!!! Smoked the shit outta that ball! Come on RizzOMMMGGGGGG

  • WilliamGlass721

    Oh well, we still took the series! :-)

  • Required

    Not mad at this loss. We put ourselves in a position to win came up short. Get Em tomorrow boys. Like the fight in this club.

  • 70′s Cub

    Thank you Double R for shitting up another 9th inning! Yes you finally found a closer 4 weeks into the season, damn you stupid ass today was not a closer situation especially w/a tired closer. Why can’t the Cubs hire an experienced MLB manager? Qball, Dale and RR green ass mangers period

    • Soda Popinski

      I wonder how green you’d be as a manager.

      • 70′s Cub

        Your comment has nothing to do with hiring a manger w/proven positive MLB experience.

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