I remain of the mind that winning today – and in so leaving the Cardinals 8.0 games behind the Cubs, just one game better than they started when the weekend began – would be a sufficient outcome for this series, but, like, the offense is really going to have to turn things around and soon:
The Cubs have score two runs or fewer in 5 of their last 6 games.
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) July 29, 2018
And so is the pitching staff. On top of the above disaster, the Cubs pitching staff has allowed at least five earned runs in three straight contests, which is just not going to cut it. They’ve still got a first-place lead, but it has shrunk to just a 0.5 game over the Brewers, who actually have one more win than the Cubs. This is too close for comfort.
Kyle Hendricks is going for the Cubs tonight and he’s had an up and down season, so let’s just hope tonight is a peak and not another valley.
If you recall, Hendricks started against the Cardinals just two games ago, but didn’t fare well against them: 4.2 IP, 9H, 3ER, 1BB, 4Ks. He went 5.0 innings a start later (v. Arizona), striking out 8 and walking just 2, but he just hasn’t been able to find any consistency yet this season. I sure hope it happens soon, because when the postseason rolls around, the Cubs are going to need him.
Starting opposite Hendricks is Cardinals righty and swing-man John Gant. Gant has made just seven starts this season, but they’ve been pretty good on the whole (3.76 ERA, 4.00). His last start, for example, was five scoreless innings against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Sure, he walked (3) more than he struck out (2), but he allowed just 4 hits and no runs. He probably had an edge on the Cubs due to unfamiliarity, but maybe that advantage is all tapped out now.
Chicago Cubs (60-44) at St. Louis Cardinals (53-51) – Sunday, July 29 at 7:05 CT on ESPN, 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.
Cubs: Kyle Hendricks (L): 4.05 ERA, 4.48 FIP; 2.79 K/BB
Cardinals: John Gant (R): 3.44 ERA, 3.96 FIP; 1.70 K/BB
St. Louis Cardinals:
- Matt Carpenter, 1B
- Yadier Molina, C
- Paul DeJong, SS
- Marcell Ozuna, LF
- Jedd Gyorko, 3B
- Kolton Wong, 2B
- Dexter Fowler, RF
- Tommy Pham, CF
- John Gant, P
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Ben Zobrist, RF
- Jason Heyward, CF
- Javy Baez, 2B
- Willson Contreras, C
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Addison Russell, SS
- Kyle Hendricks, P
- David Bote, 3B