Chicago Cubs (29-13) @ St. Louis Cardinals (23-21)

In Series Previews by dmick8917 Comments

The Cubs have not played particularly well over the last week or two. The offense has been rather quiet. Other than the 8-run game in the opener in San Francisco, the Giants pretty much shut down the Cubs offense. The Brewers beat them 2 of 3 also and they’ve lost 7 of their last 11. To their credit, they have managed to win 4 games. Teams in the past may have lost 9 or 10 of 11, but this team has found a way to win a few games while still being well below expectations.

Team Leaders


Anthony Rizzo has been pretty bad lately and more streaky this season than I remember him being. I hate it when people say someone is due to breakout, but I think we’re going to see a much better Rizzo in St. Louis. He’s fared well against the first two starters in this series.


Jeremy Hazelbaker? Typical Cardinals pulling a rabbit out of their ass. This guy is 28 years old and has always hit well in the minors, but never got a chance at the big league level. Now he is and he’s making the most of it. A 32.7% strikeout rate is likely going to come back to haunt him, but for the time being, what the fuck?

Pitching matchups

K/9, BB/9, ERA, FIP, projected ERA listed for each player

Monday: John Lackey, RHP (8.61, 1.99, 3.31, 3.07, 3.34) vs Adam Wainwright, RHP (5.40, 2.44, 5.92, 4.00, 3.38), 7:15 CT

Wainwright has not stranded many runners this year (61.6%) and his groundball rate is the worst in his career (39%). His BABIP is also a career worst .337. He’s also not the strikeout pitcher he once was, but still has great control. He’s coming off the best start of his season. Against Colorado he threw 6.2 shutout innings. We’ve heard a lot about Cubs starters going 6 innings and not allowing 3 runs or more. Wainwright has allowed 3 or more in every single start other than that Colorado one. To his credit, he’s not pitched fewer than 5 innings.

Lackey has been very good for the Cubs. In 8 starts he’s allowed 6 runs twice, but in the other 6 he’s allowed 3 (2 ER), 2, 2, 1, 1, and 0 runs. Unlike Wainwright who has given up a ton of hits, Lackey has allowed just 41 in 54.1 innings.

538 odds of winning: 54%

Saturday: Jason Hammel, RHP (8.29, 3.47, 2.31, 3.35, 3.88) vs Michael Wacha, RHP (7.71, 3.16, 4.03, 3.48, 3.56), 6:10 PM CT

Wacha’s BABIP has been much higher than normal and he’s also stranded fewer runners than before. His FIP is right in line with what ZiPS expects the rest of the season and lower than Steamer. He’s coming off back to back starts in which he allowed 6 runs (only 2 earned in one of them). He lasted just 4 innings in each of those games. The start before that he allowed 4 runs.

Hammel’s walk rate is quite a bit higher than the previous couple of seasons (3.47 per 9 vs 2.11 and 2.25). His groundball rate is higher than those two seasons so that helps. It remains to be seen how Hammel will perform in the second half, but so far he’s done just as well as we’ve come to expect in the first half.

538 odds of winning: 53%

Sunday: Jake Arrieta, RHP (9.00, 2.86, 1.29, 2.48, 2.57) vs Carlos Martinez, RHP (6.56, 3.19, 3.56, 4.22, 3.60), 12:45 PM CT

Martinez had a really good year in 2015, but so far he hasn’t been quite as good. He struckout 9.22 batters per 9 a year ago, but only 6.56 so far this season. ZiPS and Steamer expect him to regress toward 8.5 per 9, but if for some reason he’s quite a bit lower, he’s not nearly as good. His FIP has been 4.22 this season.

Jake Arrieta is going to lose at some point. I think we’ve all said that for nearly a calendar year now, but he just keeps winning unless the Cubs are no-hit. So assuming the Cubs aren’t no-hit, I think the odds have be in the Cubs favor in this one. Arrieta has destroyed what I think about true talent level. It exists. There’s no denying that, but what exactly is Arrieta’s true talent level? I have no clue. I can only guess that it’s not as low as his current ERA or as low as what he’s done over the last 28, 29 starts. It almost can’t be, but I’ve been saying that for about 15 starts now. I have no idea what his true talent level is, but I’m sure enjoying this ride. It almost feels like a bad start for Arrieta when he allows more than a few baserunners. That’s insane.

538 odds of winning: 61%

Prediction: I think the Cubs bats come alive in this series and the Cubs take 2 of 3.

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  1. josh


    ……..(‘(…´…´…. ¯~/’…’)
    ……….”…\………. _.·´

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  2. Rizzo the Rat


    I’m just assuming that all my posts would be receiving lots of upvotes. I’ve never felt so appreciated!

      Quote  Reply


  3. josh

    What’s with the recent obsession with speed off the bat? Don’t they know trajectory requires two parameters?

      Quote  Reply



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