wrigley stands crowdLike it or not, the Cubs have already lost this series, but that doesn’t mean they have to go away quietly.

In today’s series finale showdown, Jake Arrieta will try to stave off the Cardinals (and the rain – he has that power), while preserving/improving the Cubs’ 10.5 game lead over St. Louis in the NL Central. As usual, he’ll pitch to Miguel Montero, who, like Brett mentioned earlier, you should expect to see behind the plate in all of Arrieta’s starts for the rest of the season.

Although, it’s another unfortunate catcher/opposing pitcher matchup because, despite his right handedness, Michael Wacha has actually been a bit tougher on lefties for his career (.272 wOBA), than he has been on righties (.310). Then again, he hasn’t been that tough on anyone in 2016 (4.56 ERA), so maybe it’s all academic. Even still, I’m confident that the benefits of Montero behind the plate catching and calling the game for Arrieta (right now) exceed the marginal benefit of a righty bat in the lineup.

Javy Baez draws another start at shortstop, and boy has he gotten his fair share of playing time this year, hasn’t he? His 159 plate appearances this season are 7th most on the roster, ahead of guys like Miguel Montero, David Ross, Matt Szczur, Tommy La Stella and even Jorge Soler. I think it’s fair to say that he’s been much more than a bench guy. In fact, he’s genuinely been a legitimate super utility player, and I don’t say that lightly. And he’s certainly been making the most of it. On the season, Baez is slashing .268/.314/.443 with six home runs. His .324 wOBA is fifth best on the roster, behind Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Dexter Fowler and Kris Bryant (that’s tough company to overcome). Oh, and he’s played well at five different positions this year. And he runs the bases incredibly well. He’s a valuable, valuable guy to have on a team like the Cubs.

Okay, what do we say to the god of sweeps? 

Not today. 



Game Info

St. Louis Cardinals (37-33) at Chicago Cubs (47-22), 7:05 CT on ABC-7, 670 The Score.

Game Thread and Series Preview

Your game thread is down there in the comments, so have fun. But keep it “safe for work” type fun, all right?

The Series Preview lives here. The Lineup Discussion lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Cubs: Jake Arrieta (R): 1.74 ERA, 2.47 FIP; 3.05 xFIP; 3.26 K/BB

versus

Cardinals: Michael Wacha (R): 4.56 ERA, 3.51 FIP, 4.00 xFIP; 2.33 K/BB



St. Louis Cardinals Lineup:

1. Matt Carpenter, 2B

2. Aledmys Diaz, SS

3. Matt Adams, 1B

4. Stephen Piscotty, RF

5. Jhonny Peralta, 3B

6. Brandon Moss, LF

7. Yadier Molina, C

8. Kolton Wong, CF

9. Michael Wacha, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup:

1. Chris Coghlan, LF

2. Jason Heyward, RF

3. Kris Bryant, 3B

4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

5. Ben Zobrist, 2B

6. Miguel Montero, C

7. Javier Baez, SS

8. Matt Szczur, CF

9. Jake Arrieta, P




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