Welp. That was a bit of a let down.
After five, long offseason months, the Chicago Cubs’ big return to the field was a ninth-inning walk-off loss to the Cardinals in St. Louis followed by an off-day. Thud.
But the beauty of baseball is that they’re back at it again today. And with 162 games to go, I think they’ll be just fine.
Jake Arrieta takes the ball today, in what might be his last first start of the season with the Chicago Cubs. Given the competitiveness of the team and his impending free agency – and potentially lucrative contract demands – you can bet Arrieta will continue giving it his all this season.
The key for him, as always, will be maintaining control of his often-devastating, but sometimes-wild arsenal, and pounding the strike zone early. Given his ability to induce weak contract, he risks less than most by sticking around the plate.
Opposing Arrieta and the Cubs is the Cardinals (former) ace, Adam Wainwright. Wainwright had a rough go of it last season (4.62 ERA), but was healthy (198.2 IP) and still fairly valuable (2.9 fWAR). I also like to remember that former aces, even aging ones like the 35-year-old Wainwright, still have the potential to go out and dominate in any one performance. Sometimes, veterans can find a grove and channel their former self for 6-7 innings. In other words, don’t think it’ll just be a walk in the park tonight – even for this Cubs lineup.
Let’s see if they can even this thing up, eh?
Oh, and we see you, Addison.
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) April 4, 2017
Chicago Cubs (0-1) at St. Louis Cardinals (1-0) – 7:15 CT on CSN-C+, MLBN, 670 The Score
Game Thread and Series Preview
Your game thread is down in the comments, so let’s have some good, clean (safe-for-work) fun this evening.
Cubs: Jake Arrieta (R): 3.10 ERA, 3.52 FIP, 3.68 xFIP; 2.50 K/BB (2016)
Cardinals: Adam Wainwright (R): 4.62 ERA, 3.93 FIP, 4.06 xFIP; 2.73 K/BB (2016)
St. Louis Cardinals Lineup:
- Dexter Fowler, CF
- Aledmys Diaz, SS
- Matt Carpenter, 1B
- Jhonny Peralta, 3B
- Yadier Molina, C
- Stephen Piscotty, RF
- Randal Grichuk, LF
- Kolten Wong, 2B
- Adam Wainwright, P
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Addison Russell, SS
- Willson Contreras, C
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Javy Baez, 2B
- Jake Arrieta, P
- Albert Almora, CF