Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

wrigley outfieldHere we go. The Cubs can clinch today, and move on to the NLCS. Golly gee that would be swell. (No, seriously.)

Jason Hammel starts for the Cubs, and hopefully he keeps the ball down, and gives the Cubs five or six solid innings. On the other side, the Cardinals aren’t effing around, bringing back John Lackey – who cruised against the Cubs on Friday – on short rest to start today. He hasn’t done it in about a decade, so we’ll see how his arm responds. Lackey didn’t throw a ton of pitches on Friday, which probably assisted in this decision. As I noted last week, patience isn’t necessarily the order of the day against Lackey, who is frequently in the zone, especially early in the count.

A couple big differences from Friday, though: no Yadier Molina behind the plate, and no Phil Cuzzi behind the catcher, with his (apparently) characteristically wide zone. Molina is deal with a bad thumb, and that can’t be good for the Cardinals – Molina’s ability behind the plate was never more clear than when he was, together with Lackey and Cuzzi, stealing some strikes last week.

Today’s a good day for a clincher. I’m ready.

Game Info

St. Louis Cardinals v. Chicago Cubs (CHC up 2-1), 3:30 CT on TBS.

Game Thread and Series Preview

Your game thread is down there in the comments, so have fun.

The Series Preview lives here.

Starting Pitchers

John Lackey (2.77 ERA, 3.57 FIP, 3.77 xFIP; 3.30 K/BB)


Jason Hammel (3.74 ERA, 3.68 FIP, 3.47 xFIP; 4.30 K/BB)

St. Louis Cardinals Lineup

1. Matt Carpenter, 3B

2. Stephen Piscotty, 1B

3. Matt Holliday, LF

4. Jason Heyward, RF

5. Jhonny Peralta, SS

6. Randal Grichuk, CF

7. Kolten Wong, 2B

8. Tony Cruz, C

9. John Lackey, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Dexter Fowler, CF

2. Jorge Soler, RF

3. Kris Bryant, 3B

4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

5. Starlin Castro, 2B

6. Kyle Schwarber, LF

7. Miguel Montero, C

8. Jason Hammel, P

9. Javy Baez, SS

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