The Cubs head off to play the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, where executives can get a closer look at what they hope Wrigley Field can someday be (well, maybe with fewer signs). Here’s something sick and twisted and, sadly, true: the Red Sox being in the race in the AL East can only be good for the Cubs, given that it would take Jon Lester off of the trade market (before he pops on it), and would possibly put the Red Sox – another AL East team – in the market for upgrades. Am I saying I want the Cubs to be swept? Nope. I simply don’t have it in me to feel that way. But, when this series is over, I think I’ll be able to contextualize it positively no matter what happens.
We’re Going Streaking
The Cubs were poised to take at least three of four from the Nationals, but a doubleheader sweep on Saturday scuttled that. At 34-46, the Cubs are ahead of only the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL.
The Red Sox are among the biggest disappointments in baseball this year, six games below .500 and six games out in the AL East. They did just take two of three from the Yankees, though they’ve lost six of ten overall.
Game Times and Broadcasts
- Monday, June 30 at 6:10 CT on CSN.
- Tuesday, July 1 at 6:10 CT on CSN.
- Wednesday, July 2 at 6:10 CT on WCIU, ESPN.
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.
Starters: Jake Arrieta (2.05 ERA, 2.10 FIP; 4.27 K/BB), Edwin Jackson (5.22 ERA, 3.92 FIP; 2.18 K/BB), Travis Wood (4.52 ERA, 4.10 FIP; 1.97 K/BB)
Lineup (been shuffling a lot lately):
- Junior Lake/Chris Coghlan/Justin Ruggiano, LF
- Ruggiano and Lake go here, too – or Ryan Sweeney
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Starlin Castro, SS
- Luis Valbuena, 3B
- Nate Schierholtz, RF
- Welington Castillo, C
- Darwin Barney, 2B
- DH will slot in there somewhere, depending on who is playing where
Starters: Jake Peavy (4.93 ERA, 4.93 FIP; 1.95 K/BB), Clay Buchholz (6.75 ERA, 5.25 FIP; 1.71 K/BB), Brandon Workman (3.27 ERA, 3.85 FIP; 2.36 K/BB)
- Brock Holt, RF
- Daniel Nava, LF
- Dustin Pedroia, 2B
- David Ortiz, DH
- Mike Napoli, 1B
- J.D. Drew, SS
- Xander Bogaerts, 3B
- Jackie Bradley, Jr., CF (and recent call-up Mookie Betts rotates in)
- A.J. Pierzynski/David Ross, C
Hot or Not and Whom to Watch
James Russell hasn’t allowed a run in his last 15 innings. He’s got a 2.30 FIP over that stretch, a 21.1% K rate and a 7.0% BB rate, so it’s not entirely luck. You’ve got to figure that the Cubs would like to position Russell as a trade piece this July, so he seems to be helping their case.
You should sit down: since his implosion in San Diego back on May 23, Edwin Jackson has a 7.13/5.25/4.09 ERA/FIP/xFIP slash line. You can see signs of life – 22.1% K rate over that stretch – but his 11.7% BB rate is unacceptable, and his .366 BABIP and 58.3% LOB rate probably have more to do with how hard he’s getting hit (28.3% line drive rate) than bad luck.
I’ll be really interested to see Mookie Betts, one of the Red Sox’s top prospects who rocketed up the charts and the system in the last 1.5 years. He’s an undersized guy who has just hit and hit and hit. I just like seeing guys like that succeed in the bigs, because it’s nice to know it’s possible (both for guys like him, and for a team to have a guy rocket up like he has).
Brock Holt has been a revelation for the Red Sox – he plays all over, and he’s hitting .321/.369/.449. No, that .394 BABIP won’t last, but he’s still a great piece to have – probably the only saving grace in that Mark Melancon deal with the Pirates.