Here's an interesting article about why the Cardinals decided not to re-sign John Lackey last offseason:
The Cardinals, coming off six straight playoff appearances, are trying to execute the difficult process of rebuilding while contending. The Cubs, who lost 101 games in 2013 and had a losing record for five straight seasons going into last year, were willing to part with a draft pick in order to sign Lackey, who could have been their one missing piece for a World Series title.
With the No. 33 pick the Cardinals got for losing Lackey, they acquired Sacramento-area high school outfielder Dylan Carlson.
So it'll take a while before the Cardinals know if they made the right decision. Meanwhile, Lackey has been a mostly solid addition to the Cubs' rotation. But the article goes on to note what the Cubs did from 2012-14 in acquiring talent through the draft, quoting Cardinals GM John Mozeliak:
The Cubs are one of those teams that has valued high draft picks, taking players such as Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber just in the past few years.
"The Cubs were collecting talent long enough that they felt good [signing Lackey], whereas we’ve been on the back end of that for a while," Mozeliak said.
And all of that has put the Cubs 13 games ahead of the Cardinals entering tonight's action. Let's make it 14, shall we?
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist 2B, Russell SS, Coghlan LF, Heyward RF, Contreras C, Lackey P
Garcia SS, Piscotty RF, Carpenter 1B, Moss LF, Molina C, Peralta 3B, Gyorko 2B, Grichuk CF, Leake P
John Lackey and Mike Leake matched up earlier this year, April 18 in St. Louis. Lackey threw seven shutout innings and struck out 11. The Cubs scored four runs off Leake and Dexter Fowler homered. I'd like a repeat of all that, please.
Lackey also faced the Cardinals May 23 in St. Louis. He threw seven decent innings (four hits, three runs, nine strikeouts) but a pitcher no longer on the team blew the game. Lackey has a 3.09 ERA and only six walks in 35 innings since the All-Star break.
Leake has been pretty bad since the All-Star break: 7.39 ERA, 1.571 WHIP in five starts covering 28 innings. Let's keep that going.
Today's game is on ESPN.
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The 2016 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used at the end of 2015. Here's how it works.
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.