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St_Louis_CardinalsThe Cubs are probably in the midst of their roughest patch of the year so far, and it’s not like the Cardinals – now playing a little better - are going to make St. Louis a soft place to fall.

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 have had a rough year, but, until that series in Atlanta, they hadn’t yet been swept in a three-game set. That’s what happened, though, and the Cubs have now lost seven of their last eight games.

Going the other way a bit, the Cardinals are winners of four of their last seven, though they did just lost two out of three to the Pirates. They’re just .500 on the year, though, five games back of the Brewers in the NL Central.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Monday, May 12 at 7:10 CT on CSN, ESPN.
  • Tuesday, May 13 at 7:15 CT on WCIU.
  • Wednesday, May 14 at 7:15 CT on CSN.
  • Thursday, May 15 at 12:45 CT on CSN.

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 (4.75 ERA, 3.42 FIP; 3.33 K/BB), Jake Arrieta (2.89 ERA, 2.34 FIP; 2.67 K/BB), Jason Hammel (2.45 ERA, 3.53 FIP; 3.70 K/BB), Jeff Samardzija (1.45 ERA, 2.91 FIP; 2.81 K/BB)

Lineup (with obvious rotations in place):

  1. Emilio Bonifacio, CF (he might be sitting more, in which case Kalish bumps up, and the bottom of the order is affected, too)
  2. Ryan Kalish, LF
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Starlin Castro, SS
  5. Nate Schierholtz, RF
  6. Luis Valbuena, 2B
  7. Welington Castillo, C
  8. Mike Olt, 3B
  9. Pitcher

Cardinals

Starters: Tyler Lyons (3.43 ERA, 3.33 FIP; 3.50 K/BB), Adam Wainwright (2.02 ERA, 2.52 FIP; 3.71 K/BB), Michael Wacha (2.85 ERA, 2.64 FIP; 4.07 K/BB), Lance Lynn (3.83 ERA, 3.34 FIP; 2.94 K/BB)

Lineup:

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

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Travis Wood’s really bad outing against the White Sox last week really crushed his season numbers, taken them from “holy wow, total All-Star mode” to “eh, just pretty decent.” That whole “one game” thing can work in both directions. Hopefully he shakes it off tonight.

Also with a bad outing last week, Jake Arrieta. He dominated these Cardinals in his first start of the year, but struggled to stay in the zone against the White Sox. And then, when he came into the zone, the ball was hit just hard enough to get through holes in the infield. It wasn’t a terrible outing, even though he lasted just four innings and allowed three earned runs.

Junior Lake last played in a game without striking out back on May 3. Before that, you have to go all the way back to April 13.

Something you’re not going to want to hear: if you take out his first eight games this year (just eight games), Emilio Bonifacio is hitting .211/.265/.263. The lesson there? Get off to a hot start, kids. It takes only about a week, and it’ll buy you nearly a month of goodwill.

Ryan Kalish, who’s getting some leadoff starts, his hitting .327/.365/.388 in his last 19 games.

I’ve got to confess that I don’t know who Tyler Lyons is (beyond what I’m reading today). But, you know, he’ll probably be awesome.

Allen Craig’s rough 2014 continues. He’s still hitting just .221/.276/.357.

Jhonny Peralta is on fire - .356/.433/.644 over his last 15 games – which is really putting a crimp in my desire to be all CardinLOLs about signing him to that big deal.

  • Fishin Phil

    “Something you’re not going to want to hear: if you take out his first eight games this year (just eight games), Emilio Bonifacio is hitting .211/.265/.263.”

    This has been noticed.

    • Spriggs

      The only surprise was the first 8 games. I am still ok with him playing 2nd though.

    • Blackhawks1963

      Regression to the norm for the much traveled baseball gypsy that is Emilio Bonafacio. We caught lightning in a bottle for several weeks and its now gone away.

  • Darth Ivy

    Can I make a humble suggestion that I know won’t be considered?

    Don’t put that logo up. Maybe find a picture of a dead cardinal and put that thing up there. Or no picture. That logo wipes away any smile I might have when coming onto this site. Not the start of the BN experience I expect.

    Ok, rant over. Thanks for listening. I’m better now.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      If/when the Cubs and Cardinals play a meaningful September series, I’ll do something like that.

    • Spriggs

      I totally agree. That logo really brings me down. It represents all that is evil and wrong. I would rather be in denial about many things… but it does beat that WS trophy photo. That almost brought on a heart attack everytime I saw it.

      • cubmig

        I agree with the change idea of the logo. They are the Evil Empire. That said, the first series the Cubs won was against the deadbirds. Strange………. here’s another strange thing: Cubs will do that again this time around too. I know. I know. I’m blowin’ smoke. So be it.

        • D-Rock

          How bout something as simple as this?[img]https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTQPig46BneuJrZaoys4uWZvRydvP5aG9QeOV8cby114ZKWeL2_6Q[/img]

    • D-Rock

      +1
      Maybe a Cubs vs. Cards pic or something. Anything but a huge red Cardinals graphic, please.

      • Danny Ballgame

        How about a Cub ripping a cardinal to teeny tiny pieces? Either cartoon or real life, preferably stuffed for safety sake.

        • D-Rock

          Yes, please!

        • D-Rock

          [img]https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQdnivlqDlJFwZVROtRag00dLZdQHnTS-zVPmah7RRqwt0URAXTEQ[/img]

          • Darth Ivy

            boo-yah

          • ssckelley

            If that was Clark it would be perfect.

            • DarthHater

              No pants, close enough.

  • Spoda17

    Brett, any chance you could list the pitcher and whether they are RHP or LHP..?

    Thanks…

    • VittersStartingLF

      Yeah that fact can replace the W-L stat. I was just thinking it would be nice to see if P is LH or RH

  • Jon

    My vote
    [img]http://www.jimmyscottshighandtight.com/files/LaRussa_DUI.jpg[/img]

    • cubmig

      …..now if you could only post that one shown covered with plunked red feathers……

      • cubmig

        plucked…..not plunked

    • Brocktoon

      [img]http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/dailyrft/tony-la-russa-eye.jpg[/img]

  • http://BN Sacko

    Very busy today but want to express my gratitude for Brent And BN, allowing me to take a peek once in awhile.

  • BennyTheJet

    can somebody help me understand what “RC+” and “wOBA” are? please? thank you!

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      http://www.fangraphs.com/library/offense/woba/
      http://www.fangraphs.com/library/offense/wrc/

      Fangraphs has a really nice glossary if you have questions about other stats

      • Edwin

        Too fast for me.

    • Edwin

      “wOBA” is weighted on base average. It’s an attempt to weight certain things such as singles, doubles, triples, home runs, and walks.

      http://www.fangraphs.com/library/offense/woba/

      wRC+ is weighted Runs Created.

      http://www.fangraphs.com/library/offense/wrc/

      • BennyTheJet

        Starlin Castro is my favorite player and I’m not sabermetricly sound so i can’t tell if he is having that great of a season. I know that he is on pace to hit more HRs but based on BA he is just having an alright year. Can somebody break down Castro and tell me if if he is or isn’t having a great year because the way people are talking about him it sounds as if he is!

        • Edwin

          He’s having a good year. His BB% so far is at a career best 5.9%, and his K% is down to 13.8%. He’s also hitting with the best ISO of his career at .162.

          So, he’s walking more, striking out less, and hitting for more power. His defense has been solid.

          • BennyTheJet

            thank you. looks like he has been walking a lot as of late. he also looks to be driving the ball, maybe even more so then in 2011.

          • Darth Ivy

            yeah, I guess I looked at his walk rate too quickly. That’s also note worthy of being a career high (if i’m pointing out .339 over .338 wOBA than his walk rate deserves at least as much attention)

        • Darth Ivy

          As of right now, he’s technically having the best season of his career. Mind you, it’s only mid May so that doesn’t mean a whole lot. But “technically correct is the best kind of correct,” to quote Futurama

          wRC+ is 111 which beats his previous best of 109 in 2011

          wOBA is .339 which beats his previous best of .338 in 2011

          And I love ISO, maybe more than most people. This year, Castro’s at 162 which beats his previous best at 147 in 2012…also a career best

          He’s striking out and walking at usual rates for his career.

          Oh, his SLG is at a career high 444 which beats his previous high of 432 in 2011

          His “luck” or BABIP is about where it should be relative to his career.

          Damn, I didn’t realize how great of a year he was having until just now.

          • BennyTheJet

            the last sentence made me giddy inside haha. Doesn’t happen to much when dealing with the cubs lately!

  • YourResidentJag

    I know a lot has been made on here about Wins for SP. At 3pm, Len Kasper will be on the Score to discuss a new stat that he come up with to replace the win for SP. Should be interesting. Listen here if you wish: http://betaplayer.radio.com/listen/station/670-the-score

    • Karl Groucho

      http://muskat.mlblogs.com/2014/05/12/512-len-kaspers-quality-wins-stat/

      Here it is written out. It’s a fine thought — subtract “cheap wins” (wins in non-QSs) from W and “tough losses” (losses in QSs) from L, and leave only “deserved” wins and losses. I still don’t get why we care to do this, though.

      • YourResidentJag

        Well, I guess for those who still like QS…I suppose.

        • Karl Groucho

          I guess I mean that I don’t understand what the intuition is behind wanting something like W-L/QS. We have stats and we have IP, so we can see for how long a certain pitcher sustained a certain level of performance. Is there something about discrete appearances that has unique appeal?

          • YourResidentJag

            Probably not. It’s just for the traditional crowd who hate change.

            • Karl Groucho

              Fair enough, and there are worse offenses for an announcer to commit than to acknowledge W-L is a suboptimal stat. (Such as: act as though it’s a fine stat.)

      • Karl Groucho

        Also the more I think about this the more I think it’s a somewhat silly notion. You only get a deserved win if you threw a QS and got run support. So this “true W” notion is still reliant in no way on the pitcher beyond a QS…which we already have. Deserved L may be new, but GS-QS also gives you an idea of how many games a pitcher started and didn’t throw a QS, which tells you again the same thing but stripped of run support concerns.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sharingaspare mysterious4th

    Hey, at least the Cubs won a series before being swept. I’m curious to know over the last several years how many years they were swept before getting a sweep or series win.

  • aa.

    Junior Lake has 11 games this year with 1 PA (not sure offhand if he has been a PH but stuck around for more than one AB). In these PAs he is 0-10 with 9 Ks and 1 BB.

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