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cardinals logoIf the Cubs just got stomped by the Padres, how does that mean they’ll fare against the Cardinals? Well, probably not well, but not necessarily because of the Padre-stomping. Baseball is funny like that.

We’re Going Streaking

The Cubs have lost two in a row – badly – at the hands of the worst offense in baseball. I’m not going to say this is rock bottom, but it’s certainly a low.

The Cardinals have lost three in a row, including a small series sweep by the Rays. They stand seven games over .500, tied with the Pirates for second in the NL Central, three games behind the Brewers.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Friday, July 25 at 3:05 CT on WGN.
  • Saturday, July 26 at 3:05 CT on CSN.
  • Sunday, July 27 at 1:20 CT on WGN.

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 (5.12 ERA, 4.29 FIP; 1.77 K/BB), Jake Arrieta (2.12 ERA, 2.14 FIP; 3.72 K/BB), Kyle Hendricks (2.77 ERA, 3.91 FIP; 2.00 K/BB)

Lineup:

  1. Emilio Bonifacio, 2B (sometimes CF)
  2. Arismendy Alcantara, CF (sometimes 2B)
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Starlin Castro, SS
  5. Chris Coghlan, LF
  6. Luis Valbuena, 3B
  7. Ryan Sweeney/Nate Schierholtz, RF
  8. Welington Castillo, C
  9. Pitcher

Cardinals

Starters: Joe Kelly (2.84 ERA, 3.06 FIP; 2.29 K/BB), Shelby Miller (4.25 ERA, 4.79 FIP; 1.33 K/BB), Adam Wainwright (2.02 ERA, 2.60 FIP; 3.84 K/BB)

Lineup:

  1. Matt Carpenter, 3B
  2. Kolten Wong, 2B
  3. Matt Holliday, LF
  4. Matt Adams, 1B
  5. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  6. Allen Craig/Oscar Taveras, RF
  7. Jon Jay, CF
  8. Tony Cruz, C
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Kyle Hendricks gets start number three, and each start is watched closely for signals that he can stick in the big league rotation.

Luis Valbuena has had some nice hits lately, but, over his past 27 games, he’s hitting just .158/.198/.305 with a .171 BABIP. That was probably to be expected, even if the timing is not ideal.

Welington Castillo had a .348 BABIP in 2012 and a .347 BABIP in 2013. Was he setting a baseline, or was that unsustainable good fortune for him? Whatever the case, this year, that mark is down to .309, and his slash line has sunk along with it: .241/.293/.393. Still, the 89 wRC+ isn’t bad for a catcher (assuming you can get past the pitch-framing concerns).

Even in a down-ish year, the Cardinals are still getting positive offensive performances from all of Jhonny Peralta, Matt Carpenter, Matt Holliday, Matt Adams, and even Jon Jay.

Once again, Jhonny Peralta is regarded by defensive metrics as among the best defensive shortstops in baseball. That’s just weird.

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