What a beautiful day for a sweep. It almost feels like summer as temperatures are in the high seventies and the sun is shining, definitely the best day of the year for baseball. Carlos Villanueva gets the ball today as the Cubs look to win their third straight and sweep the Cardinals in this brief two game set. The Cardinals will counter with veteran Jake Westbrook who has been nothing short of brilliant so far this year, first pitch is at 1:20 PM CST on CSN Chicago. Here are the lineups.
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As a baseball fan these games are fun to watch. No matter what the records are the Cubs and Cardinals always seem to play close, hard-fought games. Tonight was no different as Travis Wood and Lance Lynn were locked in a battle all night long. The Cardinals took an early 1-0 lead on a solo home run from Allen Craig, and that’s all they would get the whole night. The Cubs erased that deficit and turned it into a lead in the fourth inning, all with two outs as well, something this team hasn’t been great at. Alfonso Soriano looped a single to right then Nate Schierholtz put a good swing on a 3-1 fastball and deposited it in the right center, well more center than right center, bleachers to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead and that’s how this one would end. Tremendous job top to bottom tonight from the Cubs, love beating the Cardinals, and hey, that’s two wins in a row!
At The Plate – Lance Lynn came into this one 5-0 and he didn’t disappoint as he matched Travis Wood pitch for pitch. The Cubs didn’t generate a lot as they only had five hits, but it was enough for the win. Starlin Castro had a rough night at the plate and made a questionable error, but did manage a double in his last at bat to finish the night 1-for-4. Alfonso Soriano was a big part of the offense tonight going 2-for-3 with a run scored, fonsi has his average up to a respectable .276, need more production out of him however. Nate Schierholtz was the offensive hero tonight going 1-for-3 with his fourth home run of the season, two RBI’s and a run scored.
On The Mound – How about Travis Wood, he was outstanding again tonight and has been all season. Wood improved his record to 3-2 and lowered his ERA to a sparkling 2.33 by going 6.2 innings giving up one run on five hits while walking two and striking out eight. Carlos Marmol (yes I held my breath when he came in) was really good in this one. Marmol worked 1.1 scoreless innings giving up two hits while walking one, but he worked around the free pass. Kevin Gregg has been reborn, he was spotless again in the ninth inning, he didn’t give up any hits and struck out one.
Up Next – The Cubs go for the sweep, okay it’s only a two game series, but a sweep over the Cardinals is a SWEEP OVER THE CARDINALS. Carlos Villanueva will battle Jake Westbrook at 1:20 PM CST, both pitchers have been outstanding this year, should be another good one.
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Bring on the Cardinals. The Red Birds and their fans descend on Wrigley Field tonight for a quick two game series against the Cubs. The Cubs haven’t seen the Cardinals all year, but they know what to expect. The Cardinals are scoring runs, as they usually do, they have scored 150 runs so far this year which is good for seventh in all of baseball. The Cubs on the other hand have scored just 122 runs and sit twenty-second in the majors, but they are steadily improving. The Cubs typically have the pitching advantage as they have started out so well this year, well that’s not the case in this series. The Cardinals pitching is a big reason why they have the second most wins in the Majors (20-11), they have a team ERA of 3.09 which is tops in all of baseball. The Cubs are no slouch when it comes to team ERA as they sit at 3.82, good for eleventh in the Majors. It should be a good series featuring some good pitching. The team that makes the fewest mistakes will have the most success, that usually holds true throughout baseball, but it’s even more clear in this series. Coming into this one the Cubs have committed a league worst twenty-seven errors, the Cardinals have only committed thirteen, fifth fewest in the Majors. Pitch, hit, field…. win.
The Cubs lost two out of three to the Reds at home, and beat the Rangers yesterday in a make up game.
The Cardinals swept the Brewers in Milwaukee, it was a three game sweep, and the Cardinals have won six straight.
Game Times and Broadcast Information:
- Tuesday, May 7, 2013 – 7:05 PM CST on WGN TV
- Wednesday, May 8, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on CSN Chicago
Starting Pitchers Scheduled:
Game One – Travis Wood (2-2, 2.50)
– Career vs. Cardinals (6 GS) (2-2, 5.36)
Game Two – Carlos Villanueva (1-2, 2.85)
– Career vs. Cardinals (25 appearances, 7 GS) (5-3, 3.10)
Game One – Lance Lynn (5-0, 2.75)
– Career vs. Cubs (5 appearances, 4 GS) (4-0, 2.73)
Game Two – Jake Westbrook (2-1, 1.07)
– Career vs. Cubs (8 GS) (5-2, 4.14)
The Cardinals are playing their best baseball of the year, winning six straight heading into tonight. The Cubs have shown flashes of brilliance yet still find ways to lose games because of themselves. The result, I think the Cubs split with the Cardinals in this brief series.
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Just a terrible night all around as if it could go wrong it did as Matt Garza left the game with an injury, the Cardinals scored 12 runs in the seventh inning, and the Cubs only managed three hits off of Cy Young, I mean Jake Westbrook in a 12-0 embarrassment. The Garza injury, or possible injury hurts quite a bit more than losing 12-0 as it could deter teams from offering a big return for Garza. Any time there is any trepidation the price could go down but no one knows how bad it is right now. Based on everything that is coming from the post game it sounds like it’s just cramping but nothing is for sure yet. Garza was good, really good before being forced to leave the game after the third. He went three innings giving up no runs on two hits while walking two and striking out three. Recently acquired Justin Germano came on in relief and did an outstanding job going three plus innings giving up one run on four hits while walking none and striking out one. Unfortunately Germano was hung with the loss as he was responsible for the first runner on in the seventh. The Cardinals proceeded to score 12 runs in the inning on ten hits, seven of which were doubles, and one was a triple. James Russell and Manny Corpas were responsible for most of the damage although only one ball was hit hard in the inning. The Cubs were just as bad offensively in their second straight loss as they could only manage four singles. Full box score and highlights after the jump.
The Cubs try to keep it rolling in St. Louis this weekend amid reports that Ryan Dempster is on the verge of being traded. Because of the trade being imminent, at least per reports, Ryan Dempster has been pulled from his start tomorrow. From the sound of it Casey Coleman will take Dempster’s start tomorrow as he was scratched from his Iowa Cubs start tonight. The report of Dempster being pulled is coming from MLB Network, but has not been confirmed by any of the local media or the Cubs themselves at the time of this preview. So, aside from all of that, the Cubs continue to be the hottest team in baseball since late June. They come into this series with the Cardinals on the heels of a 5-1 home stand, and a series win over the Marlins. Conversely the Cardinals come into this series limping as they are 4-6 in their last 10 games and have fallen into third place in the Central division, five full games out of first. The Cardinals have led the NL in runs scored for quite some time, but they are struggling as of late, only scoring 51 runs in July (14 games), which is good for 12th in the NL over that time. By comparison the Cubs have scored 63 runs in July, good for 6th in the NL. The only reason the Cardinals have kept their head above water this month has been their pitching, they boast a staff ERA of 2.65 in July, the best in the National League. The Cubs have been really good as well with a 3.19 ERA in July, good for 4th in the National League. Full preview/breakdown after the jump.
The Cubs get their first major test of the year in St. Louis this weekend. The Cardinals are crushing the ball, and not giving up to many runs either, that’s usually a recipe for success. The Cardinals sit atop the Central Division aty a 5-2 record and have shown no signs of slowing down coming off of their Championship season last year. The Cubs left Wrigley with a better taste in their mouth after beating the Brewers 8-0 on Thursday afternoon. However, the Cubs aren’t satisified with their play as they currently sit at the bottom of the Central with a 2-5 record. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cubs sneak up on the Cards this weekend and steal 2 out of 3 games. The Cubs played better than that 2-5 record indicates on the season opening home stand, and I think a trip on the road might do them some good. Go Cubs!
Full Breakdown after the jump