The Cubs return to the semi-frozen tundra of Wrigley field for a big series against the Cardinals. For all the bitching about the awful weather canceling games this April – what else can you do? It's April 16 and the weather is this bad. Sometimes nature just throws you a slutter. The best solution I've heard is that the schedulers should make sure to put as many division games as possible on the schedule in April, since it's much easier to make those up than it is with a team that only visits once. Looking at the weather it's possible we just see a doubleheader tomorrow and another rescheduled game, but at least the teams have more flexibility on this one.
Now that the Cubs are facing another team that did not trade 95% of its roster in the offseason, I'll use the teams' 2017 numbers here instead.
- OBP: Kris Bryant (.409)
- ISO: Ian Happ (.261)
- HR: Anthony Rizzo (32)
- R+RBI: Rizzo (208)
- wRC+: Bryant (146)
- BSR: Bryant (4.8)
- DRS: Jason Heyward (18)
- SP K/9: Jose Quintana (10.46)
- SP BB/9: Quintana (2.24)
- SP FIP: Quintana (3.25)
- RP FIP: Carl Edwards Jr (12.75)
- RP BB/9: Brandon Morrow (1.85)
- RP FIP: Morrow (1.55)
- WAR: Bryant (6.7)
- OBP: Tommy Pham (.411)
- ISO: Paul DeJong, somehow (.247)
- HR: Marcell Ozuna (37)
- R+RBI: Ozuna (237)
- wRC+: Pham (148)
- BSR: Pham (5.3)
- DRS: Jedd Gyorko (16)
- SP K/9: Luke Weaver (11.22)
- SP BB/9: Michael Wacha (2.99)
- SP FIP: Weaver (3.12)
- RP K/9: Tyler Lyons (11.33)
- RP BB/9: John Brebbia (1.92) – I don't remember this guy at all. He made 50 appearances!
- RP FIP: Lyons (2.86)
- WAR: Pham (6.1)
Injuries, transactions, vengenace pacts, etc.
As mentioned in the Whip-Around, Ozuna was the Cardinals big offseason acquisition. He had a MUCH better year than I remembered last year, driving in 120+ runs with 37 homers (presumably not in a row). They also bit the bullet and signed Greg Holland after it became clear that Luke Gregerson wouldn't be ready to start the season. Holland wasn't quite ready either, as he walked four batters to blow a lead in extras in his Cardinals debut. Bud Norris is now closing out games. I was going to make a crack that hopefully the Cubs remember him well from the 2016 NLCS, but it appears that Norris and Joe Blanton are the same player in my head.
The Cards have a bunch of players on the shelf right now, including Brett Cecil (shoulder/foot), Luke Gregerson (hamstring), who may be back this series, Jedd Gyorko (hamstring), and Sam Tuivailala (knee). Alex Reyes is still rehabbing from TJS and could be back next month. Tommy Pham (vengeance) is playing through his simmering resentment towards the Cardinals org.
Rizzo was activated from the DL today, so the Cubs injury sheet is clean aside from Drew Smyly, who won't be back for a few months anyway.
Projected K/9, BB/9, ERA listed for each pitcher.
Monday: Adam Wainwright, RHP (6.96, 2.80, 4.27) vs Tyler Chatwood, RHP (7.37, 4.26, 4.31), 6:05 PM CT
Waino is a shell of his former self, not that I'm going to shed a tear over this. He lasted just 3.2 innings in his first start, walking four batters and seeing his velocity drop significantly inning by inning. He lasted seven innings with no walks against the Brewers in his next outing, but gave up two home runs. His fastball is still sitting around 90 but his cutter, which used to be his best pitch has dropped all the way to 83 from the 87-88 when it was in its prime.
Chatwood gave up roughly a billion hits to the Pirates in his last start. They may have found the BABIP monkey's paw though, so maybe it's not *all* on him. I'm as guilty as the next guy in trying to find silver linings in his results, and apparently the statcasty numbers don't look as bad, but so far the results have just not been particularly good.
Tuesday: Michael Wacha, RHP (8.16, 3.15, 4.21) vs Jon Lester, LHP (8.92, 2.65, 3.64), 7:05 PM CT
Wednesday: Luke Weaver, RHP (8.28, 2.34, 3.79) vs Kyle Hendricks, RHP (7.86, 2.38, 3.74), 1:20 PM CT
Ran out of time to blurb the rest of these guys, but Luke Weaver might be pretty good.