Game 144 Thread / Cubs @ Cardinals (1 of 3)
|SP||Ryan Dempster||SP||Kyle Lohse|
|15-6, 2.99, 167 K, 72 BB, 183.2 IP||13-6, 3.76, 106 K, 44 BB, 182 IP|
|LF||Alfonso Soriano||CF||*Skip Schumaker|
|2B||*Mike Fontenot||3B||Troy Glaus|
|1B||Derrek Lee||1B||Albert Pujols|
|3B||Aramis Ramirez||RF||Ryan Ludwick|
|RF||Mark DeRosa||LF||*Rick Ankiel|
|CF||*Jim Edmonds||C||Yadier Molina|
|C||Geovany Soto||2B||#Felipe Lopez|
|SS||Ronny Cedeno||P||Kyle Lohse|
|P||Ryan Dempster||SS||Cesar Izturis|
The Cubs and the Cardinals meet in the first of three at Busch and the first of six matchups between now and the end of the season. The Cubs lead the season series, 5-4, and have won 10 of their last 15 in St. Louis.
Dempster won his only start this year against the Cardinals, allowing 2 ER over 6 2/3 in a 6-2 Cub victory in early August. Lohse is 0-1, 6.92 in a pair of starts this season vs. the Cubs, but is otherwise having a fine year, producing more ground balls, yielding fewer long balls, and allowing fewer walks than at virtually any other point in his MLB career.
By Baseball Prospectus's reckoning, the Cubs, 4 1/2 games up on Milwaukee, enter play with an 88.8% likelihood of winning the division, 10.3% chance of winning the Wild Card, and a 99.1% overall likelihood of reaching the post-season. The Cardinals, 9 games back of the Cubs and 4 1/2 behind the Wild Card-leading Brewers, come in at .2% / 4.5% / 4.7%. In other words, deprived of greater glory, Cardinal fans may realize no more significant joy in these last few weeks than seeing their heroes get in the way of a Cubs celebration.
Every time the Cubs and Cards meet and I enter the batting orders, I stumble as I remember to enter the St. Louis pitcher in the eighth spot. That led me to look up a few team season stats. First, what kind of production the Cubs and Cardinals are getting from their respective #8 hitters:
|Cubs 8th-place hitters||.300||.362||.442||804||12||79|
|Cards 8th-place hitters||.196||.247||.292||539||8||51|
Then from the #9 hole:
|Cubs 9th-place hitters||.231||.271||.340||611||10||60|
|Cards 9th-place hitters||.266||.322||.323||645||2||34|
The Cubs' #8 numbers have been helped by the fine season they have received from Reed Johnson. The Cubs #9 numbers reflect an offensively outstanding pitching staff (thank you, Carlos Zambrano!), one that's 105 OPS points better than the next best-hitting group of pitchers, which happens to belong to St. Louis.
And the Cardinals' production from the 9th place? That right there is what you call the handiwork of a former Chicago Cub, one Cesar Izturis.
Rob G: Just a little roster note that Felix Pie and Randy Wells will be joining the team. To make room for Wells on the roster, the Cubs have moved Jon Lieber to the 60-day DL.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?
Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump
Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.
j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.
felix pena, your turn.