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Cardinals 14, Cubs 5: Marcus Stroman hit hard, and Caleb Kilian called up to start Saturday

We’ll see part of the Cubs’ future tomorrow.

Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Couple things before I get into the meat of the recap of the Cubs’ 14-5 loss to the Cardinals Friday afternoon.

First, the only nice thing I can say about this game is that the weather was perfect. Low 80s, unlimited sunshine, a nice breeze, low humidity, the sort of day the Chamber of Commerce folks promote when they tell people to visit Chicago.

Second, we are going to see the MLB debut of one of the Cubs’ most highly-touted prospects Saturday evening:

That’s something — two guys who started the season at Triple-A Iowa are starting a doubleheader against the Cardinals in June.

Caleb Kilian, as you likely know, was acquired from the Giants in the Kris Bryant deal last July. He was lights-out in the Arizona Fall League and has a 2.06 ERA and 1.271 WHIP in nine starts for Iowa. I saw him pitch in the Fall League and I am very excited to see his MLB debut tomorrow. Kilian celebrated his 25th birthday yesterday (Happy Birthday!) and he could be part of the Next Great Cubs Team.

Which was definitely not on the field Friday. The Cubs actually led this game 3-0 after one inning, thanks to this two-out, three-run homer by Patrick Wisdom [VIDEO].

It was all downhill from there. The Cardinals put across a run in the second off Stroman, and took the lead in the third on a three-run homer by Paul Goldschmidt, who just destroys Cubs pitching.

The Cubs actually tied the game in the bottom of the third. Christopher Morel led off with a single, extending his on-base streak from the start of his career to 17 games. Rafael Ortega singled him to third, and one out later, Frank Schwindel singled him in when Nolan Arenado couldn’t handle his sharp grounder to third [VIDEO].

4-4 after three? Okay, especially with a wind blowing out to right... but the Cardinals were the ones who took advantage of that, with a pair of homers off Stroman in a five-run fourth that basically put the game away. Poor Marcus was left out there for two batters after the second homer, likely because David Ross didn’t want to burn up his bullpen with a doubleheader tomorrow.

The Cubs loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the fourth. Five runs down that early, bases loaded, nobody out — and what’s my first thought? “In what creative and interesting way are they going to fail to score here?”

Here’s how: A strikeout and a double play on an attempt to score on a fly to short right that was caught by Cardinals second baseman Brendan Donovan. Here, look. [VIDEO].

The Cubs have been aggressive on the basepaths all year. Sometimes it works. That time... nope.

Mark Leiter Jr. replaced Stroman and gave up three more runs in the sixth, but at no time was anyone warming up in the bullpen. That gave me this thought: First, Leiter is out there to save the pen for the doubleheader, and second, since a 40-man roster spot is going to be needed for Kilian, Leiter’s probably going to be designated for assignment. He’ll clear waivers and the Cubs can then send him back to Iowa to be another “break glass in case of emergency” pitcher.

No roster move for Kilian has been announced yet (and no announcement of a 27th man, either, but it’s likely going to be Anderson Espinoza again, I’d think) but the above is an educated guess.

Regarding Stroman, you tell me how this makes any sense:

Home games: four starts, 9.33 ERA, 1.691 WHIP, six HR in 18⅓ innings
Road games: five starts, 2.79 ERA, 0.931 WHIP, two HR in 29 innings

Small sample sizes, to be sure, but yeesh — what is going on here?

A bit of entertainment was given to the smallish (yes, smallish for a Friday Cubs/Cardinals game in June) crowd of 32,482 in the ninth inning when Schwindel, who had been the DH for the day, took the mound to pitch. He recorded two outs on four pitches, then had a couple of 61 mile per hour floaters lofted into the bleachers for home runs, then got a popup he caught himself on... look at the speed of that pitch!

I mean... I can throw a baseball almost 38 miles per hour. At least that part was fun. The Cardinals called up a lefty named Zack Thompson (not to be confused with Pirates righthander Zach Thompson) to make his MLB debut, and he finished the last four innings for a save. It’s just the second four-inning save in MLB this year.

Saturday, as noted above, Matt Swarmer will start Game 1 for the Cubs (12:20 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network). Caleb Kilian will start Game 2 (6:15 p.m. CT, Fox-TV — coverage map). Here are the Cardinals starters:

More tomorrow. Enjoy this beautiful Chicago evening, if you’re in town, or the evening wherever you are. It surely will be better than this game.