RECORDS: Cardinals 77-69 Cubs 80-66
GAMETIMES: 1:20 Friday and Sunday, 3:05 Saturday
TV: ABC Friday, CSN Saturday and Sunday
KROENKE LOVERS: Viva El Birdos
So here’s some bullshit for you. If the Cubs lay the same egg they did last weekend, and whether you admit it or not there’s still a small part within you that has Cardinal-phobia and is expecting that to happen because of course it would, they’d be tied for first with these assholes. And maybe even the Brewers. Even losing two of three, which would be an improvement on the kabuki theater we saw last week, would have the Cards two games back with two weeks to go and four remaining in West East St. Louis. Who the fuck wants that? Quite frankly, and we’re tired of saying it and saying it, but the Cubs need to stop dragging these dipshits around.
What’s more infuriating is the Cardinals really only had to put together a good two weeks to even be here. Their 29-25 record in July and August isn’t going to make anyone weep, but their 10-3 September has vaulted them into the middle of this, annoyingly as ever. And what’s got them here is their starters, or at least three-fifths of the rotation.
The past month, Luke Weaver, Carlos Martinez, and Lance Lynn all have ERAs under 3.00, and Weaver is tickling being under 1.00 at 1.15 (so he’s going to be a problem, but not this series thankfully). Lynn is definitely riding his luck of the three, because his K/9 is under six and you wouldn’t think a guy with his profile is going to last too long doing that. At least Wacha has been gasoline in that time, with an ERA approaching 5.00. But it’s been enough.
In the lineup, once again Tommy Pham is leading the way, even though I’m convinced he sucks and his only production is a result of whatever the Cardinals have been shooting into their middling bench players for decades now. But he’s slugged .648 over the past month, which is just stupid. He’s been joined by Yadier, who has woken up from his two-year slumber or so to hit .311 since this time in August. Even Piscotty has gotten into the act, and Matt Carpenter is always waiting around to hit a homer when you absolutely can’t give one up and will almost certainly do so this weekend. Ditto Jedd Gyorko, who I feel the same way about as I do Pham. There’s something in the bloodstream. With Jose Martinez finally becoming someone to lock down 1st base and DeJong at short, it’s actually something like the agonizing, infuriating Cardinals lineup you remember from most of your life.
The pen has been able to stabilize since Trevor Rosenthal went POOF! (and really, who could have seen shuttling him from rotation to pen and him airing out everything he had again would have resulted in injury?) Tyler Lyons, Zach Duke, and Brett Cecil have been the most reliable, and have been joined by Juan Nicasio, though the Cubs have torched him in the past and a late-inning Cardinal meltdown this weekend would do the body good for sure. It’s serviceable, it is not lockdown. And you can count on Mike Matheny to do some stupid shit at some point as well.
The Cardinals, like the Brewers, have just about everyone lined up that they would want for this series, save Weaver. The Cubs don’t really have anyone to line up with Arrieta hurt and Lester still finding it after being hurt. So Lackey, The Cerebral Assassin, and Q are about as good as they can do.
There’s no secret here. There’s no special tactic. It’s just about cutting out the bullshit. No more that “one play” where you can’t figure out what they were thinking. Make all the plays in the field they should, and a couple they shouldn’t. Stop giving away ABs in a silly fashion. And for the love of God play Albert Almora. Enough of this bullshit. It’s well past time to actually look like you’re supposed to. Enough.