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Pre-Gamin’: Cubs at Cardinals (7:15 CT) – Lineup, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

Pre-Gamin'

Starting tonight, the Chicago Cubs will play the first place St. Louis Cardinals in their home ball park for three. We all know about the Cubs struggles lately, but perhaps a tough match-up on the road is just what they need to get things going.


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The lineup is without Jason Heyward and Addison Russell tonight, as both are battling injuries, although Russell could eventually make it into the games over the weekend. But all is not lost, because one of the Cubs’ top prospects, Jeimer Candelario, is still with the team and in the order. He’d been hitting very well in Triple-A before coming up to the Majors, so he may just provide the extra little spark. And remember, he’s a switch-hitter, so he’s got that going for him too.

As we discussed earlier, the big story of the day, however, is Eddie Butler. The Cubs’ high-ceiling, low-floor trade acquisition has the potential to succeed in the Major Leagues, but has been chasing that potential for several years now. As a former top prospect, he has the pedigree to do something great, but he’ll have to induce some weak contact and plenty of ground balls to get there. If the Cubs strike gold, though, they could benefit for years to come.

Opposing Butler, Candelario, and the rest of the Chicago Cubs today is Cardinals’ righty Mike Leake. The Cardinals signed Leake to a 5-year/$80 million deal before the 2016 season, and he underperformed in his first year with the club (2.5 fWAR). This season, however, Leake has been one of the better pitchers in baseball (1.2 fWAR), thanks primarily to an excellent ground ball rate (53.3%) and a lot less hard contact than he’s used to giving up.


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WITH THAT SAID, there is no way his current 3.1% home run/fly ball ratio (fifth lowest in MLB) is going to hold up, even with weaker contact. So perhaps the Cubs can help him naturally (and immediately) regress tonight at Busch Stadium. And for what it’s worth, the lowest HR/FB mark he’s ever posted was 11.5% in 2013. His career average is 13.4% and the league average is 12.8%. 3.1% is not happening for long.

Dexter Fowler is indeed leading off and playing center field for the Cardinals, by the way (he’d previously been out).

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (17-17) at St. Louis Cardinals (19-14) – 7:15 CT on CSN-C, MLB-N (out-of-market only), 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 today.

Starting Pitchers

Cubs: Eddie Butler (R): 1.17 ERA, 3.58 FIP, 5.11 xFIP; 2.13 K/BB (Triple-A)

versus

Cardinals: Mike Leake (R): 1.79 ERA, 2.53 FIP, 3.52 xFIP; 3.86 K/BB

St. Louis Cardinals:

  1. Dexter Fowler, CF
  2. Tommy Pham, LF
  3. Matt Carpenter, 1B
  4. Jedd Gyorko, 3B
  5. Yadier Molina, C
  6. Aledmys Diaz, SS
  7. Randal Grichuk, RF
  8. Kolton Wong, 2B
  9. Mike Leake, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup:

  1. Kyle Schwarber, LF
  2. Kris Bryant, RF
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Ben Zobrist, 2B
  5. Jeimer Candelario, 3B
  6. Willson Contreras, C
  7. Javy Baez, SS
  8. Eddie Butler, P
  9. Albert Almora, CF

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Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @Michael_Cerami.