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busch stadiumSo, the Cubs and Cardinals are making up last night’s rainout on August 30 as part of a doubleheader. But, since everything about yesterday’s game is pretty much the plan for today’s game (starters, lineups, etc.), it’s actually kinda like they’re making up the rainout today. And then they pushed today’s game to August 30.

I think it’d be more fun if they said that.

The Cubs go for the series win today, which wouldn’t have been the case last night. So that’s different.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (13-25) at St. Louis Cardinals (20-20), 12:45 CT on CSN.

Game Thread and Series Preview

Please feel free to use the comments on this post for your in-game commentary/outbursts. In other words, the comments section below is your game thread.

The Series Preview lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Jason Hammel (2.45 ERA, 3.54 FIP, 3.65 xFIP; 3.70 K/BB)

versus

Michael Wacha (2.85 ERA, 2.66 FIP, 2.99 xFIP; 4.07 K/BB)

St. Louis Cardinals 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. Peter Bourjos, CF

8. Mark Ellis, 2B

9. Michael Wacha, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Emilio Bonifacio, CF

2. Ryan Kalish, RF

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Starlin Castro, SS

5. Luis Valbuena, 2B

6. Junior Lake, LF

7. Mike Olt, 3B

8. John Baker, C

9. Jason Hammel, P

  • cubmig

    Is the double clutching by Castro a habit, or a way of getting a better grip on the ball? He sometimes temps the fates to make the play too close a call…….

  • cubmig

    Veras? Anyone want to predict how his rehab will show itself?

    • Beast Mode

      I hope he tuns back into Jose Veras.

      • Beast Mode

        *turns

  • cubmig

    Castro with a timely knock. LETS SCORE THEM NOW!

  • cubmig

    …..a nice opportunity here for someone……..

  • renegade4196

    I feel like Lake will GDP to troll

  • Jon

    Matheany bringing in Rosenthal with 1 out in the 8th. He’s such a meathead.

  • BlameHendry

    Olt just can’t keep up with Rosenthal’s heat…

  • renegade4196

    Schierholtz blows

  • BlameHendry

    Why did I turn the game back on. God dammit.

  • Jon

    Schierholtz has been fucking terrible dating back to last August. I don’t understand how he justifies a roster spot.

    • ssckelley

      I agree, I think it is getting to a point where he should be waived. How much longer do you keep trotting out a corner outfielder who has an OPS below .500?

      It ticks me off that the FO did not trade Schierholtz last TDL when they had the chance. The Pirates were interested last season and the Tigers appeared to be interested during Spring Training.

  • cubmig

    …..a wasted opprtunity for all who had *the* chance………………shit……

    • BlameHendry

      At least Olt took the walk, but he got two straight fastballs right over the heart of the plate that he easily could have smacked, but he was late on both of them.

  • renegade4196

    This FO really needs to remove their heads from their asses. It’s inexcusable to have guys like Baker, Schierholtz, Barney etc. on this team.

    • BlameHendry

      Well how else are we gonna get that 1st overall draft pick?

      • SirCub
      • renegade4196

        Who cares? Why don’t we get an MLB team for once? Why isn’t that the objective?

        We can get aroused by all these prospects when only one or two will succeed at the big league level. Theo and Jed are too stubborn to give a shit about the big league club, and it has shown terribly. Instead of pursuing Beltran or Cruz, we get an outfield of Schierholtz, Kalish and Lake…

        • BlameHendry

          While I agree, it seems the sarcasm went right over your head…

          I too want them to spend on the major league team, but not on old geezers like Beltran who would be a total waste when the rest of the team sucks. Young guys like Tanaka on long-term deals makes sense, but those are extremely few and far between. Looking at how Tanaka has performed so far I’d have no problem with the FO giving him even more money than the Yanks did. It’s what the going rate is nowadays. I want to see money spent on the big league team this year, but not on anybody so old that their window of prime effectiveness will be gone by the time Bryant/Soler/Alcantra/Almora get here.

          • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

            Yep, but if the Cubs signed Tanaka to that deal, they have him for 4 years and then he gets an absolutely massive contract. Barring the ability to sign a guy to a GIANT deal, he would be gone right when the Cubs are in their competitive window.

            • Brocktoon

              Are you writing off 2014-2017 now?

              • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                Not at all, simply trying to say that I agree with not offering Tanaka that contract, the same way I liked them not going less than 6 years on a Cespedes contract. An opt-out clause has absolutely zero benefit for the team.

                • Jon

                  But their production during that time does benefit the team.

                • Brocktoon

                  Well it could if you’re smart and let a guy walk after it when he’s not worth it anymore. The Yankees would’ve benefited greatly from both A-Rod’s and CC’s opt-outs if they just let them walk.

                  But regardless, that’s not the point, it’s the cost of business. NTCs have zero benefit for the team too, but players want them. So you can keep signing Jason Hammels or you can pony up what the great players want.

                  • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                    I’m sorry, but I’m not giving Tanaka a 4 year, 88 million dollar deal with a 20 million posting fee. Sure, he is probably performing to that now, but no one in baseball expected this level of performance from him.

                    • Jon

                      No one?

                    • Rebuilding

                      There were several people on this site that expected it out of him and posted about it frequently. Ultimately, I think it came down to Tanaka wanting to go to NY or LA and the Cubs not being willing to either (a) blow the bidding out of the water and/or (b) give him an opt-out. I would imagine the offers we heard attached to the Cubs (7 years/$120 million) were about right and it just wasn’t enough. I would imagine the FO was likely surprised that the Yankees went as high as they did considering they are paying 1.4 times his salary due to the luxury tax

                    • Rebuilding

                      Iwas watching the Yankees – Mets game last night and broadcasting crew of Gary Thorne, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez were talking about why Tanaka is having so much success (that is a great broadcasting crew btw, they work well together and know the game inside and out). He just flat out knows how to pitch (changing speeds, moving in and out) and he throws his split finger with several different grips so he gets all kinds of movement. They made the point that American teams have widely discouraged the use of the split because of arm problems, so American hitters rarely see it. And believe me it is devastating when thrown like he does it. Last night I don’t think he threw over 92 and just made people look silly

                    • Brocktoon

                      How do you come to the conclusion that we lost Tanaka becasue he was NY or LA when we didn’t even make a competitve offer?

                    • Rebuilding

                      That was just a guess on my part. It seems he wanted to go to the Yankees or the West Coast (his wife is an entertainment personality). My point is that our offer would have likely had to be quite a bit more than the Yankees. Could be wrong as I have no inside info on that

                    • Rebuilding

                      And I do think the FO thought they made avery competitive offer and were pretty surprised where the Yankees ended up, especially given their salary cap issues.

        • http://bleachernation.com woody

          I can’t really say that Ihave been aroused by any of our prospects. As for SirCub, who made you the monitor of this board?

  • Jon

    In terms of wRC+ & wOBA Nate Schierholtz is last in baseball for all qualified out fielders and it’s not really close.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=of&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=y&type=8&season=2014&month=0&season1=2014&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=17%2cd

    Thanks Team Theo for this steaming pile of crap of an outfield you threw together.

    • Jason P

      Clearly they should have forseen a career .724 OPs hitter turning into someone who can’t hit his weight.

      • Jon

        Or they could have seen him for what he is worth. A 4th outfielder.

        • renegade4196

          When you have a team full of 4th outfielders it is rough to get past that.

      • Brocktoon

        You know that’s a big part of their job right?

        • Jason P

          No. Their job is to play the probabilities. And the highest probability was that Schierholtz would come out and be the same average hitter he always has been.

          • Jon

            You can pay a college intern to play the probabilities.

            • Jason P

              Not really. I can tell you the probability a flipped coin lands on tails, but figuring out the probability Player X produces a quality season requires a tad more know-how.

              Now, let me back-track a little bit. I think we should have signed another outfielder. But that free agent would have likely played center or right. I wouldn’t have expected Schierholtz to produce like he did last year, but considering all the holes this club had/has, a guy who’s basically been a league average hitter throughout his career should have been and was the least of their worries.

          • Brocktoon

            They’re paid a hell of a lot of money to do more than look at a guy’s career numbers and say, well that’s what he’ll be. If we’re going to give them credit for guys like Feldman and Hammel, then they need to take blame for guys like Schierholtz and Villanueva.

            • Jason P

              No matter good you are at analyzing baseball, sometimes guys just have crap seasons out of the blue. There was absolutely nothing in the numbers to show that Schierholtz was going to come out and post a .506 OPS. And it’s still only May 15th. There’s a lot of time for him to still turn it around.

              • ssckelley

                That is true but Schierholtz has been hitting below .500 OPS since last August 31st.

                • Jason P

                  Last September was awful for him, but I’m not sure those 85 PA’s alone were enough to convince anyone of a permanent decline. His peripherals weren’t even all that bad that month — he only struck out only 15.7% of the time and his BABIP was .194.

                  You could have also attributed some of the decline to the big jump up in PA over his career norm.

                  All I’m saying is, the Cubs went into the offseason with an outfield full of nothing. Considering the mid-level outfield free agent market was only about 10 names deep to being with, it would probably have been unrealistic to expect the Cubs to sign 3 of them (obviously, they signed none, which probably wasn’t the right decision), but if I’d had to pick one guy not to replace out of Lake, Sweeney, and Schierholtz, I’d probably have said Schierholtz.

                  That’s not to say I expected Schierholtz to even be an average right fielder, but I at least expected him to be the least of the bad, and the front office probably did too.

              • Brocktoon

                Again, they’re paid to do more than look at a guy’s stat line. Just because you or I didn’t see this coming doesn’t mean they should be given a pass. They’re better than us.

                • Jason P

                  And again, I’m saying they don’t have a crystal ball. If all of your metrics tells you a guy is going to post a wRC+ between 82 and 112 (as Schierholtz has every year since 2009) and all of your scouting says there are no physical reasons to suspect a decline, the best any front office can do is say there’s a high probability Player X will produce at that same level again.

                  Sometimes Player X still sucks.

                  • Brocktoon

                    And if the player doesn’t, then there was a failure somewhere. When Pujols was terrible last year, did you throw your hands in the air and say “well, the numbers and the Angels scouts said everything looked good” or did you point and laugh?

                    • Jason P

                      Pujols was 33 and had been trending downward for 3 years. Also, he didn’t “suck”, he was just injured a lot and worse than he usually is. Giving 10 years to someone already in their 30′s is a terrible idea to begin with, but it’s irrelevant to this discussion since Schierholtz was tendered a 1-yr arbitration deal.

                      If a manager pinch hits a righty for a lefty against a tough lefty (assuming normal platoon splits) and that righty strikes out, was there a failure somewhere? If Craig Kimbrel blows a save, was there a failure by the manager to recognize some hidden trend that should have led him to use some other pitcher?

                      Sometimes you can make the right decision and it can turn out poorly. Like I said: it’s all about the probability.

                    • Brocktoon

                      But your opinion that it was the right decision appears solely based on his career numbers, which is silly.

                      Has there been a decision you feel this front office has made that was wrong?

                    • Jason P

                      “it would probably have been unrealistic to expect the Cubs to sign 3 of them (obviously, they signed none, which probably wasn’t the right decision)”

                      Jason P
                      May 15, 2014 at 6:41 pm

                      (literally, 6 comments above this one)

                    • Brocktoon

                      But the numbers and their scouts told them it was the right decision.

      • P.Fronts

        When you tout yourself as the “Best scouting staff in baseball”, yes. Yes they should have,

        Or does the great scouting thing only apply to top five draft picks?

        • Brocktoon

          No, it counts for Jason Hammel, Kevin Gregg, and Scott Feldman too. But not Carlos Villanueva or Schierholtz v. 2.0 or Edwin Jackson.

        • Jon

          It doesn’t even matter, Schierholtz/Ruggiano was to be the RF platoon. They still left two gaping holes in CF/LF, for whatever reason.

          • Bill

            They have had a gaping hole in RF too. Ruggiano/Schierholtz was never the answer. Schierholtz was terrible the 2nd half of last season and he’s been terrible this year. All of these guys are 4th and 5th OF’s, at best, on any other MLB team. Most wouldn’t even be OF on good MLB teams, none would be starters on bad MLB teams. Theo/Jed put together a AAA OF.

            • Jon

              Probably, but I was trying to give them the benefit of the doubt.

              I chuckle when people try to argue Ryan Sweeney as a league average player. Something, that before the 1st half of last year, he hadn’t done since 2009. These are the standards of acceptability we have set for this front office.

              • Bill

                What’s amazing is OF (especially corner OF) should be the easiest position to find league avg players. Only Theo/Jed think this is a monumental task where we need to find players by going dumpster diving. CF is a tough position to fill with a quality bat but it shouldn’t be hard to find corner OF’s who can at least hit.

                • Jon

                  I’m convinced they realized this was another throw away season, so they wanted to give players they have dealt with in a past a shot as a personal favor, which explains Sweeney/Kalish on the roster.

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  Cubs LFers are 8th the NL in OPS: i.e., smack dad in the middles. So, the FO *did* get league typical there.

        • Jason P

          Find me one example — just one — where anyone in this front office has touted themselves as “the best scouting staff in baseball”.

  • Jon

    #1 in the fecal league!

  • cubmig

    ………….yawn………….what happen to that team that scored 17 runs and won?…….

  • wkranz

    Rizzo & Castro: 5-7, 1 BB, 0 SO, 3 R, 2 RBIs and a HR.
    Guys who are not named Rizzo or Castro (and not pitchers to be fair): 3-24, 2 BB, 6 SO, 0 R, 1 RBI, 0 extra base hits.

    I have stood by the plan for three years, no questions, getting hard to deny that this team has failed to put a watchable product on the field during a 3rd straight rebuild year.

    • Jon

      “We hope to have strong players around them, hopefully an impact player or two around them on the club so that they can break in the right way. You don’t want your prospects breaking in carrying too much responsibility. You don’t want them hitting in the middle of the order. “

      • wkranz

        I assume the is a Theo quote? Don’t remember.

        • Jon

          Yes. Another example of the FO saying “one thing” and “doing another”.

          • Norm

            How are they “doing another”?
            What prospects are hitting in the middle of the order?

            • Jon

              So a support in the lineup is good for all players coming up going forward, but Castro and Rizzo are just shit out of luck? They are not prospects, but they are still fairly young players.

              • Darth Ivy

                They seem to be having good seasons

              • BT

                They are young players. They are not proof of the front office saying one thing and doing another. They have been in the majors for a couple of years, and he made the statement in March. He didn’t claim it applies to all young Cub players retroactively.

        • BT

          Yes, it’s a Theo quote, and it could not be more irrelevant, as he wasn’t referring to Rizzo or Castro, but to Bryant and Baez and any number of prospects who haven’t come up yet, given that he said it two months ago. If/when those prospects come up, Castro and Rizzo would be carrrying the load, not them.

      • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

        Are Rizzo and Castro not impact players? He said an impact player or two, not a roster full of them. Sounds like they’re doing exactly what he said.

        • wkranz

          No question, Rizzo and Castro aren’t prospects, and that quote probably doesn’t meet the complaint, but if we had put a decent outfield around those two and found a way to get a strong starter, this team would be pretty competitive. Maybe not playoffs, but on the other side of .500 and possibly in the race with some luck.

          • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

            What about the entire “seeing what you have from Lake” crowd? Fact is, the outfield is all well underachieving their career averages and are all due for some positive regression. They signed their decent starter, his name is Jason Hammel.

            • Jon

              outfield is all well underachieving their career averages

              This really isn’t the case. For example Shierholtz BABIP is a bit lower than last year, but nothing out of the norm. His walk rate is the same, and his K rate has spiked. That could be just him being getting old and being bad.

              The rest have been backups/AAAA their entire careers. THere is no resume there. It’s a collection of BAD

              • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                Here are Ruggiano’s, Schierholtz’s, and Sweeney’s career OPS+ compared to this year.

                Ruggiano Career: 101
                Ruggiano 2014: 78

                Sweeney Career: 94
                Sweeney 2014: 38

                Schierholtz Career: 96
                Schierholtz Career: 39

                Ladies and gentleman I give you underachieving your career average.

                • YourResidentJag

                  Still doesn’t change the fact that they are 4th OF on any team.

                • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                  They are league average players who when employed in platoons become slightly above league average players.

                  • YourResidentJag

                    Largely, 4th OF. Thanks, Tommy. :)

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      I’m just trying to illustrate that it’s not as terrible of an outfield as everyone likes to say. Is it a great outfield, no, but it is definitely league average when healthy and performing to career norms.

                  • Jon

                    Last year was not enough to say if Lake is a league average player

                    A 1/2 win season 4 years ago makes Ryan Kalish a league average player?

                    Sweeney had a good year in 2009, then was hurt /bad up until the first half of last year where, he got hurt again! League average player?

                    The Shierholtz/Ruggiano platoon was the only one you coudl say was decently average

                    Sweeeny/Kalish were dumpster dives that nobody wanted and Lake is a fringe prospect that is probably going to wash out.

                  • P.Fronts

                    I dare you to find a worse group of OFs on a big league roster.

                    And just imagine how bad it would be if the Royals didn’t DFA their sixth infielder.

                    • Jon

                      Someone will say the Astros. Because that’s how we define success these days, “not as bad as the Astros”

            • http://bleachernation.com woody

              Lake still has value as a reserve outfielder. Aside from Kalish and Lake the rest of that outfield is atrocious. I don’t include Bonifcio in that group. We have two guys on the DL ( Ruggiano and Sweeny ) combined with Schierholtz and Couglan they all suck. This may be the worst group of outfielders ever assembled on a major league roster.

              • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

                I could find worse…but the energy expended would be greater than the conclusion to draw.

    • roz

      Well technically it’s easy to deny, because people have different definitions of “watchable.”

      • wkranz

        PLEASE tell me what fan would consider the Cubs watchable? It’s one thing to lose close games and have poor pitching, but having 3 or 4 guys every game that you know are going to combine for a 2-15 performance at best, no questions asked, is not watchable by anyone’s standards

        • roz

          Apparently only the dumb fans still like to watch the games. Silly me.

          • YourResidentJag

            You didn’t answer his question.

            • roz

              I thought it was implied that I still like watching the Cubs and would consider them to be watchable to me, but unless that didn’t make it through my sarcasm—I am a fan that considers the Cubs watchable.

              • YourResidentJag

                Or just likes namecalling. ;)

        • mjhurdle

          I find the Cubs very watchable.

    • Darth Ivy

      That Rizzo-Castro bunt-homer was enough to keep me happy for a couple days….at least until Saturday when ill be in the bleachers WITH MY BLUE BN TSHIRT!!

  • Medicos

    13 W—26 L: Another game in which the Cubs can’t score more than 3 runs. If the 12 runs scored against the Sox and the 17 runs scored against the Cards are eliminated from the 2014 run totals , this team averages around 3 1/2 runs per game. You ain’t gonna win many MLB games with that kind of run production. In the June draft the FO needs to draft a position player with potential pop in his bat who will be able to drive in some runners sometime in the near future.

    • wkranz

      Pretty sure they have done this 3 straight years now, the problem is, they have to develop. Signing a Big league player who was not waived by another team probably wouldn’t hurt though.

      • Medicos

        wkranz: You’re correct—development of players in the Cubs minor league system has been a major problem for years Other than pitchers, Castro, Barney and Soto are the only players I can think of who’ve gone through the developmental phase in the organization and exhibited some success at the Friendly Confines during the past few years.

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