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