Series Preview: Chicago Cubs (17-17) at St. Louis Cardinals (19-14)

In Series Previews by berselius82 Comments

While the Cubs scuffled against the Yankees and Rockies, the Cardinals ripped off a six game winning streak because, Cardinals. Their pitching has rebounded from early season struggles to have the second best ERA in the leage (n.b. they are tied in FIP with the Cubs), and their offensive wRC+ is smack on 101. They even have fewer HR than the Cubs. They have not seemed to figure out what this year's Devil Magic seems to be, but there is still time for it to reveal itself. Hopefully it does not do so in this series.

Team Leaders



Injuries, transactions, vengeance pacts, etc.

Brett Anderson is on the DL with no return range specified due to a back injury/general ineffectiveness. There has no news since he was put on the DL and I'm guessing he'll be out for some time. Heyward is out with a sprained finger and may return next week. Addison Russell is dealing with some shoulder soreness that kept him out of Wednesday's game. The Cubs called up Eddie Butler to take Anderson's rotation spot and have had a flurry of other transactions to deal with their gassed pen. As of right now, Pena and Candelario are up and Grimm is back in Iowa.

The Cardinals have a bunch of banged up players. Dex suffered a shoulder injury on a diving catch a week ago and has been able to pinch hit, but not play the field. In that same game Piscotty suffered a hamstring injury that should keep him out for a while. Johnny Peralta has been out with a bad allergic reaction to some meds, and the Cards are in no hurry to rush him back with Gyorko hitting the cover off the ball. Michael Wacha was in line to pitch Saturday's game, but the Cardinals used yesterday's off day to skip his turn in the rotation and get him some extra rest.

Pitching Matchups

K%, BB%, ERA, projected ERA listed for each starter.

Friday: Eddie Butler, RHP (-,-,-,4.97) vs Mike Leake, RHP (6.02, 1.56, 1.79, 4.04), 7:15 PM CT

Butler has a sparkling 1.17 ERA in Iowa to go along with his laughably low 4.99 K/9, which is actually a lot higher than I would have guessed. His FIP looks pretty good because he has not given up any home runs, and while it looks like he's had a little success in suppressing them at the minor league level, not so much in his brief stints in the bigs. His game seems to mainly be killing a clownboatload of ground balls, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Javy in this one.

Mike Leake did Mike Leake things last year with the Cardinals, throwing a ton of strikes and getting a lot of grounders. He might be the next Bronson Arroyo, filling the role of the RHP who I always assume is a lefty. He was okay with some bad strand rate luck last year, that luck has reversed itself so far this season.

Saturday: Jon Lester, LHP (8.71, 3.48, 3.27, 3.21) vs Carlos Martinez, RHP (10.71, 3.64, 3.86, 3.46), 3:05 PM CT

Jon hasn't been quite himself this year, walking far more batters and generally being less efficient. He had a solid outing his last time out, striking out nine Yankees in seven innings as a part of the Cubs marathon loss.

Martinez looked like he should be finding a place for a Cy Young trophy in his opening day start against the Cubs. Since then results have been more mixed, capped off by a eleven strikeout, eight walk game against the Yankees in mid-April in which he somehow only gave up three runs.

Sunday: Jake Arrieta, RHP (10.24, 2.79, 5.35, 3.16) vs Adam Wainwright, RHP (8.41, 3.31, 6.37, 4.06), 1:15 PM CT

This game features a matchup of two CYA contenders who have just fallen off a cliff this year. Both players have huge ERA-FIP splits so bouncebacks should be in the cards, but based on what we've seen of Jake and Waino's one start against the Cubs batters are simply hitting them a lot harder this year. This could be a long game.


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  1. Edwin

    Too bad Russell and Heyward are banged up. Butler seems like the type of pitcher who needs to be pitching to the best defense possible in order to find success.

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  2. cerulean


    If I’m the Dbacks, I’m not willing to eat any salary in a Greinke trade. It’s why I think he ends up staying put. I wouldn’t be willing to give up anything of any value to acquire him since he has no surplus value. I’m also not too willing to give up anything of value for Cueto either. If the Cubs go after pitching, it should be young pitching, but I doubt any team is too willing to trade it. My bet is the Cubs rotation remains the same the rest of the year. It’s something the Cubs should have addressed in the offseason.

    That contract has potential to be an enormous albatross for the Diamondbacks. Eating 30% of it to mitigate risk that was taken on by a truly incompetent group may be attractive, and the Cubs are one of the few teams that can take on $25M per. It would greatly help for them to languish some too, which they may not do. (My bet is that if they trade Greinke to the Cubs, they would then be able to flip that talent for Nolasco and not miss a beat.)


    I think they’ll go after someone they think can rebound.Maybe someone like Alex Cobb, if Cobb starts to show signs of improvement.If they go after a young pitcher I’m thinking Micael Fulmer or Marcus Stroman could be good fits.Although with how Fulmer is pitching so far I bet he would be pretty hard to pry away.

    Cobb is interesting but he is an FA this offseason and has been middling since his return from TJ. I would trade for him using some B-list prospects and try to work out a two-year pillow contract.

    I don’t really see Stroman or Fulmer being traded because they still have many years of control—not to mention that it would probably take at least Baez and Candelario and Clifton given the cost of pitching these days.

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  3. Myles

    Pitchers like Cobb probably aren’t signing 2-year pillows. Maybe 1, and I doubt they’d avoid dipping a toe in the FA pool since there will certainly be at least 1 team that will take a chance on him.

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  4. Perkins

    So…Donald Trump.

    (dying laughing)
    (dying laughing)
    (dying laughing)

    The optimist in me thinks he won’t be president by this time next year, whether because of impeachment/25th amendment or the effect of constant scandal and scrutiny on the health of an obese senior citizen who never exercises and has no impulse control.

    The pessimist in me remembers that tens of millions of Americans were stupid or morally bankrupt enough to think he could do the job, many of whom probably still think he’s doing it well.

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  5. cerulean


    I feel like he might just resign. He’s a petulant little child who is just going to take his ball and go home. Little does he realize that’s exactly what so many people want.

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  6. Perkins

    So The Rock might run for president. We live in a fake country.

    Shorn of context, this would be a ridiculous sentence, but a professional wrestler-turned actor would be a better president than we currently have.

    God what a fucking mess. Suddenly I feel pretty okay about the Cubs.

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  7. Berselius is too lazy to login

    To-day’s base ball squadron

    Bryant (rf)

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  8. EnricoPallazzo

    Perkins: Shorn of context, this would be a ridiculous sentence, but a professional wrestler-turned actor would be a better president than we currently have.

    i wasn’t sure if this was a joke so i googled it and this came up “Actor criticises Trump administration’s travel ban as at odds with American values and says his own policies would be based on inclusion and cooperation”. this would be a dramatic improvement so i am all for it.

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  9. EnricoPallazzo

    “Then tell me, future boy, who’s President of the United States in 2020?”
    “Dwayne Johnson.”
    “Dwayne Johnson the wrestler? Then who’s vice president, Koko B. Ware? I suppose Miss Elizabeth is the first lady? And Ricky ‘the Dragon’ Steamboat is secretary of the treasury? Good night, future boy!”

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  10. cerulean


    I think the Rock would be a better president than any candidate I have seen floated so far. From just looking at him, it’s obvious he understands the necessity for practice, for continual improvement just to keep the status quo. But he has also been thoughtful and affable in any interviews I have seen. In other words, he’s the complete opposite of Donald Trump.

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  11. dmick89

    Perkins: but a professional wrestler-turned actor would be a better president than we currently have.

    I admit to not knowing much about Johnson, but for some reason I’ve enjoyed watching some of his movies. I never bothered watching Trump when he was doing TV because I already knew what a piece of shit he was.

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  12. cerulean

    For all the tamping down of expectations that has happened, Eddie Bulter is doing a pretty good Jake Arrieta impression.

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  13. Smokestack Lightning

    For all the tamping down of expectations that has happened, Eddie Bulter is doing a pretty good Jake Arrieta impression.

    I would imagine this is an one-night-only sort of entertainment.

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  14. cerulean

    Smokestack Lightning: I would imagine this is an one-night-only sort of entertainment.

    Maybe. But he was getting weak contact and strikeouts against a good lineup. Something had to be working. He hit 97mph with his fastball. So I think he should get the opportunity to pitch one-night-again.

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  15. cerulean

    Smokestack Lightning,

    To wit:

    “The last two years I was mainly four-seam, and that’s not where I need to be,” said Butler. “I’m a two-seam guy. They told me I couldn’t really command the glove side of the plate — everything I was throwing was arm side — and focusing my attention on that took away from what I’d been doing. My extension went away, and I struggled. It’s tough to be consistent, trying to do one thing when your body wants you to do another.”

    6–2 groundouts to flyouts. I’d say the two-seamer was working.

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  16. Rizzo the Rat

    Some people are saying the error should go to Rizzo, but I think it’s mostly Contreras’s fault. Rizzo was anticipating an easy, accurate throw, which the situation called for. Instead he got a throw that was too hard and over his head. Yes, the ball hit off his glove, but it’s a similar situation to a catcher getting crossed up, I think.

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  17. dmick89

    Rizzo the Rat,

    I tend to think of errors in the simplest way. Was it a good throw? Not really (too hard). Should Rizzo have caught it? Yes. Hard for me to see how that error should go to Contreras even though we know he’s at least partially to blame. The bottom line is he should have caught it. In a perfect world we would give Contreras 40% of an error and Rizzo 60% of one.

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