The Cubs came within a couple innings of sweeping the Cardinals in St. Louis last week, and, perhaps if they’d finished it off, the tenor of this series would be slightly different. As things stand, if the Cubs were to sweep the Cardinals, then maybe you start dreaming about the Central division crown. Even one loss, though, and it’s just not going to work. The Cubs seem to keep hanging around that hope line, eh?
We’re Going Streaking
The Cubs mostly bounced back from that loss to the Cardinals, splitting with the Phillies but then taking three of four in Pittsburgh.
The Cardinals swept the Brewers, and have won four in a row overall. They’re hot again, it seems, after scuffling through their first rough patch of the entire season.
Game Times and Broadcasts
- Friday, September 18 at 1:20 CT on ABC-7, MLBN.
- Saturday, September 19 at 12:05 CT on FOX.
- Sunday, September 20 at 1:20 CT on TBS.
And, if you’re not in the blackout region, you can always watch on MLB.tv.
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: Dan Haren (5.31 ERA, 5.60 FIP; 2.75 K/BB), TBD/Bullpen, Jon Lester (3.38 ERA, 2.96 FIP; 4.20 K/BB)
- Dexter Fowler, CF
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Chris Coghlan, RF
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Miguel Montero, C
- Javy Baez/Starlin Castro/Tommy La Stella, 2B
- Addison Russell, SS
Starters: Lance Lynn (3.17 ERA, 3.48 FIP; 2.64 K/BB), Michael Wacha (2.96 ERA, 3.56 FIP; 3.00 K/BB), Carlos Martinez (3.02 ERA, 3.23 FIP; 2.97 K/BB)
- Matt Carpenter, 3B
- Stephen Piscotty, LF
- Jhonny Peralta, SS
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Yadier Molina, C
- Brandon Moss, 1B
- Kolten Wong, 2B
- Jon Jay, CF
Hot or Not and Whom to Watch
The pitchers in this series are largely the same as last week, and in the same order – the only difference is a bullpen day for the Cubs on Saturday, rather than Jason Hammel.
Jorge Soler is back for the Cubs, but we’ll see if/when/how he plays.
Addison Russell’s in a bit of a slump, hitting .203/.253/.420 over his last 21 games with a – eep! – 41.3% K rate.
Travis Wood hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last eight innings. His last four appearances, in particular, have been silly, with 14 strikeouts in just 7 innings.
Fair to wonder if Michael Wacha is wearing down. Since July 26, he’s got a 2.45 ERA … but a 4.11 FIP and a 4.35 xFIP, both below average, thanks largely to a drop in his strikeout rate and an increase in his walk rate.
Tommy Pham will rotate in for the Cardinals, as he’s now hitting .272/.352/.500 because of course he is.
Matt Holliday and Matt Adams are back for the Cardinals, but it remains to be seen how much they get involved after coming off of long injury absences.
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