Suddenly, the Cardinals look vulnerable.
Their one fairly major deal last winter -- David Freese for Peter Bourjos -- has been a flop so far. Bourjos has been benched for the guy who was thrown in on that trade (Randal Grichuk, a guy who sounds like he should be playing for the St. Louis Blues).
They haven't been able to find a second baseman who can hit. Kolten Wong, prized prospect, was recently demoted and Mark Ellis is hitting .121. They're muddling around .500 at the moment. The Cubs did a good job of shutting them down in the ninth inning Friday, something they have had trouble with up to now in 2014.
So maybe the Cubs can win again and thus win their first series since last September (and first at Wrigley since August 30-September 1, 2013).
Hey, it could happen.
Bonifacio CF, Valbuena 2B, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Schierholtz RF, Castillo C, Lake LF, Olt 3B, Arrieta P
The Cardinals lineup was not available at the time I wrote this post. Please check the BCB Twitter feed for the Cardinals lineup.
Today's Starting Pitchers
Jake Arrieta is making his 2014 MLB debut. He posted a 2.25 ERA and 1.000 WHIP in five rehab starts covering 20 innings, which you can essentially consider his "spring training." He faced the Cardinals once last year, August 16 at Wrigley Field, and threw seven excellent shutout innings. Here's to a repeat of that today, Jake.
Michael Wacha burst onto the major-league scene late last year and was the hero of the Cardinals' division series win over the Pirates. He's continued that success into 2014 in his first five starts (2.48 ERA, 1.128 WHIP, 44 strikeouts in 36⅓ innings). It should be noted that Wacha was the pick the Cardinals got for losing Albert Pujols in free agency. It just goes on and on, doesn't it?
Today's game is on CSN Chicago. In some parts of the USA this game can be seen on Fox Sports 1 -- check your cable/satellite listings.
Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Baseball-reference.com game preview
Please visit our SB Nation Cardinals site Viva el Birdos.
For 2014, we are going to have the same game-thread routine as 2013. Here's how it works.
You'll find the game preview -- like this one -- posting as the first link in the StoryStream™, which will then contain all the overflow threads and the recap. The recap will also be on the front page as a separate post; once I post a game recap, the stream for each game will be retitled "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.
In general, game previews will post two hours before game time. Exception: for day games after night games, that will usually be 90 minutes.
You will also be able to find the First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in this StoryStream™. As I've done for each regular-season game for several years now, we'll have the First Pitch thread at five minutes before game time (moved up from actual game time per your requests), then an overflow one hour, two hours and 2:45 after game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.