The photo at the top of this post is of Starlin Castro after he struck out to end the fifth inning Friday night with runners on first and third.
I post this not to criticize Castro, but instead to show his frustration at not being able to drive in a run, or more, in that situation. Criticize Castro if you will, but I don't think anyone can say he doesn't care about winning. This photo, I think, shows his passion for the game.
Now. Last night is over, and this is a new game and a new day. There's no reason the Cubs can't win this game (well, other than the pitching matchup, which appears on paper, at least, to be a mismatch). It would be nice to go into Sunday night's game even-up in this series.
Here's an interesting article from Patrick Mooney at CSN Chicago talking about the "mental hump" the Cubs need to get over before they can start winning games in St. Louis:
There are times where it feels like the Cubs almost have to play a perfect game to win at Busch Stadium and beat the best team in baseball. The St. Louis Cardinals are in their heads. Star manager Joe Maddon basically admitted as much late Friday night after watching his team absorb a 3-2 loss to the Cardinals that took 10 innings, ended on a walk-off error and showed the experience gap in this rivalry. "Give them credit," Maddon said. "However, we’ve lost several tough games in this ballpark. We have to get over the hump. It’s more of a mental hump than a physical hump."
Maddon is right. And I think Maddon is just the right guy to help the Cubs get over that hump. Hope it starts tonight.
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Rizzo 1B, Bryant 3B, Montero C, Castro SS, Coghlan LF, Baxter RF, Roach P, Russell 2B
Here is today's lineup for @Donnroach's #Cubs debut. Game preview: http://t.co/MgXf8Z2hg7 #LetsGo pic.twitter.com/VkOhWZySyb— #VoteCubs (@Cubs) June 27, 2015
Wong 2B, Carpenter 3B, Peralta SS, Heyward RF, Molina C, Grichuk LF, Scruggs 1B, Bourjos CF, Wacha P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Donn Roach has never faced the Cardinals and the only player on the current Cardinals roster he has faced is Mark Reynolds -- he struck him out (and won't be facing him tonight except as a sub, as Xavier Scruggs is starting for the Cardinals at first base). Roach has posted a 2.29 ERA and 1.101 WHIP in 14 starts at Triple-A Iowa this year. That's all good! Not a strikeout pitcher (33 in 82⅔ innings at Iowa), he'll pitch to contact. If he can keep the ball on the ground, he could have success against this St. Louis club. He has walked only 15 and allowed just five home runs in Triple-A this year.
Michael Wacha has not faced the Cubs this year. He faced them three times last year, all three before the July trades and callups that re-made the Cubs roster. That shows in the fact that current Cubs are just 11-for-32 against him, a very small sample size. Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo have both homered off Wacha. Repeats of those tonight would be nice.
Today's game is on Fox. Here's the coverage map. As you can see, this game is Fox's primary game and can be seen in most of the country outside the northeast, northwest, and parts of California and Texas. Announcers will be Kenny Albert, Tom Verducci and Harold Reynolds, the dreaded three-man booth. Reminder: if you aren't in the coverage area for this game and you have a MLB.tv or Extra Innings subscription, you can watch via those services. You'll note that one of the games listed is Cleveland at Baltimore. That game has been postponed, so check your local Fox station if you are in that area on the map -- you might be getting the Cubs/Cardinals game.
Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Baseball-reference.com game preview
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The 2015 Game Thread procedure has changed a bit. Here's how it will work going forward.
You'll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).
At the same time, a StoryStream™ containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.
You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap 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 the game's StoryStream™ as noted above.
The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.