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Who Goes To The Pen After This Series? Cubs vs. Cardinals Preview, Sunday 5/30, 1:20 CT

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Without trying to rehash yesterday's discussion about who should go to the bullpen, let's look at who likely will be the choice. Dave van Dyck's article in the Tribune spells it out:

The decision on who Carlos Zambrano will replace in the Cubs rotation should be revealed Sunday, but it appears he will make his first start in five weeks Wednesday in Pittsburgh.

Ted Lilly will start on Tuesday, which leaves Monday up in the air. That would be Tom Gorzelanny's turn to pitch, so he may get one more start before heading to the bullpen, as expected. Or Randy Wells, who threw only 16 pitches Friday, could come back on short rest Monday.

You might say, based on recent performance, that Wells should be the one to go to relief. Out of Wells' ten starts, two were horrible, two were mediocre and six were good-to-excellent. There's at least as good a chance that Wells could come back and throw tomorrow (he's supposed to be "available" in the bullpen today, which might be another clue) and have a good outing, as a bad one. Or... given that one of Wells' horrific starts was against the Pirates, maybe Lou should stick with Gorz tomorrow.

The Cubs need to be exploring trades for one of their starters. I'm sure Jim Hendry is doing this, but for most teams, it's far too early to be making trades. The National League, in particular, is still -- two months in -- an amorphous mass of teams. Take out the three division leaders (Reds, Phillies, Padres) and the three worst teams (Astros, Pirates, Diamondbacks) and there is only a 6.5 game spread between the other ten teams. There's no reason that the Cubs can't come out of this pack, especially since they are on a nice little streak, having won nine of their last 13. A victory today would make three straight series wins against good teams.

Here's one more look back at yesterday's great performance by Carlos Silva that might be useful information for the future. Koyie Hill had a big effect on Silva's pitch selection:

"Every single pitch had a purpose [yesterday]," Silva said. "Koyie made me throw some pitches that I never throw."

Silva generally uses his curve only on the first pitch for a strike to get ahead in the count, but on this day "he made me throw that pitch inside to lefties, or back door to a lefty. I'm not used to pitching like that. But those were really good calls."

Time to make Hill Silva's personal catcher?

Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster
Cubs
vs. Adam Wainwright
Adam Wainwright
Cardinals
3-4 W-L 6-3
3.31 ERA 2.38
65 SO 69
22 BB 19
8 HR 3
vs. StL -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Ryan Dempster 3-4 11 10 0 0 0 0 70.2 51 26 26 8 22 65 3.31 1.03


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Adam Wainwright 6-3 11 10 2 0 0 0 72.0 52 20 19 3 19 69 2.38 .99

Adam Wainwright is tough on most of the NL, but he's only 4-3, 4.38 in 20 career appearances (11 starts) against the Cubs. Five of those 11 starts were last year and he went 3-0, 2.45 with two no-decisions (the Cubs won one of those games). Aramis Ramirez hits him well (12-for-32, .375), but I'm hoping A-Ram is headed to the DL to fix whatever's wrong with him.

Like Wainwright, Ryan Dempster spent time as a closer so he has quite a few career relief appearances (26) out of his total of 41 outings vs. St. Louis. He has held Albert Pujols to a reasonable .275 BA, but the guy who's killed him is Skip Schumaker (13-for-31, .419). Demp was outstanding in his last start, throwing eight shutout innings vs. the Dodgers, and has gone at least six innings in all ten of his starts this season.

You'll note that both pitchers have ten starts listed and 11 appearances. Both have been used as pinch-hitters this year (both made outs), accounting for the extra game.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago and KSDK-5 in St. Louis. It's also being picked up by TBS for national distribution. Here is the rest of the MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Cardinals site Viva El Birdos.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 1:15 pm CDT, and the overflows will post at 2:15, 3:15 and 4 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.