Let’s try this again! Here are some notes for tonight’s game.
- The Cubs are going for their second consecutive N.L. Central crown. When they do, they will become the first defending World Series champions to win their division the next season since the 2009 Philadelphia Phillies, who won the N.L. East by six games.
- The only other defending World Champion to win their division the following season in the last 15 years was the 2002 Arizona Diamondbacks, who won the N.L. West by 2½ games.
- Furthermore, the Cubs aim to become the first defending World Series Champion to even make the playoffs the next season since the 2012 Cardinals secured a Wild Card spot. Thus the Cubs aim to snap a four-year drought in which the defending World Series winner failed to qualify for postseason play the following year. The Cubs already have the best record of any of those other champions. The 2014 Red Sox went 71-91, the 2015 Giants were 84-78 and the 2016 Royals were 81-81.
- Lastly, as you know, the Cleveland Indians have secured the A.L. Central crown. That would make 2017 the first year since 2002 that both defending pennant winners won their respective divisions the following season.
Here are today’s particulars.
Jay CF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist LF, Russell SS, Baez 2B, Heyward RF, Rivera C, Lackey P
Carpenter 2B, Pham LF, Fowler CF, Gyorko 3B, Martinez 1B, DeJong SS, Grichuk RF, Kelly C, Wacha P
John Lackey vs. Michael Wacha
John Lackey didn’t have very good luck the last time he faced the Cardinals, but that wasn’t entirely his fault. Right, umpire Jordan Baker?
He also failed to finish the fifth inning against the Brewers in his last outing, but that was more Joe Maddon managing it like a postseason game. Previous to that Lackey had gone at least seven innings in two starts beginning the month of September. Overall this month: 2.78 ERA, 0.971 WHIP in 22⅔ innings.
Overall this year Lackey has a 3.57 ERA and 1.075 WHIP in three starts against the Cardinals covering 17⅔ innings.
The Cubs had six hits and five walks off Michael Wacha September 16 at Wrigley Field. Wacha, like some of his rotation mates, seems to be running out of gas this year. His last nine starts: 4.78 ERA, 1.490 WHIP, 49 innings pitched (so averaging only a bit more than five innings per start).
Current Cubs are hitting .317 (44-for-139) against Wacha with nine home runs, including three by Anthony Rizzo, who is a .472 hitter (17-for-36) against him. Ian Happ homered off him twice June 4 at Wrigley.
Today’s game is on CSN Chicago. It’s also on ESPN (outside the St. Louis market — the ESPN broadcast will be available in the Chicago market).
MLB.com Gameday (classic mode) (Note: Going forward, I am going to link to the “classic” Gameday here because MLB.com broke the links I used to use to get to their “new” Gameday. If you click on this link, you can then click on “New Gameday” at the bottom of the page to get to the updated version. Note that the “classic” Gameday won’t load until just before game time.)
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The 2017 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2016. 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.
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Discuss amongst yourselves.