ST. LOUIS -- Monday's game was a lot of fun, and completely unexpected in almost every way.
The Cubs are now 28-11 since the sweep at the hands of the Phillies, and they are winning games in all sorts of different ways. It's not "must" at this time, but the Cubs really need to start showing the Cardinals and Pirates that they can beat them, too.
Tonight would be a good place to start. That is, if they can get this game in. Thunderstorms are in the forecast.
Here are today's particulars.
Jackson CF, Castro 2B, Coghlan LF, Rizzo 1B, Bryant RF, Montero C, Baez 3B, Hammel P, Russell SS
Well. That's different. As always, I trust Joe Maddon on lineup selection.
Carpenter 2B, Piscotty LF, Heyward RF, Molina C, Moss 1B, Reynolds 3B, Garcia SS, Jay CF, Wacha P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Jason Hammel needs to do what he did a year ago -- turn August struggles into September successes. Hammel had a 2.20 ERA in five September starts in 2014 and that would be nice. His two starts against the Cardinals this year were not kind. June 28 in St. Louis, he threw four mediocre innings and then left following a long rain delay. July 8 at Wrigley Field, he left after one inning due to a hamstring issue, which only recently has settled down.
He's going to have to be better tonight to give the Cubs any chance of winning. It's just that simple.
Michael Wacha has an 0.92 ERA in his last six starts, with a 1.154 WHIP in 39 total innings. He's clearly the best of the Cardinals starters. The only hope here is that the Cubs repeat what they did in that July 8 game. The Cardinals took a big early lead but the Cubs eventually managed five runs off Wacha including a bases-loaded double by Miguel Montero.
Not much more to say, really -- the Cubs are just going to have to be on top of their game tonight.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago. In most of the USA this game will also be shown on MLB Network (check your cable/satellite listings).
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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.