Series Preview: Iowa Cubs (23-31) at St. Louis Cardinals (33-24)

Team overview

Team stats and NL ranks

Cubs Cardinals
wOBA .323 (5th) .344 (1st)
UBR -7.3 (16th) -1.7 (12th)
UZR -12.1 (14th) 6.9 (4th)
SP FIP 4.07 (11th) 3.74 (4th)
RP FIP 4.08 (16th) 3.78 (11th)

I’m too lazy to breakdown the individual player stats. Blame the Cubs shittiness (laughing). I’ll hit the highlights.

  • “RF” Lance Berkman is still hitting out of his mind (.433 wOBA).
  • LF Matt Holliday hit the DL yesterday with a quad injury
  • RHP Kyle McClellan also hit the DL this week, with a hip injury
  • Wow, the Cards have a lot more injured players than I thought. They’re also missing backup C Gerald Laird (broken finger), 3B David Freese (broken hand), UIF Nick Punto (forearm strain), and of course P Adam Wainwright
  • Jake Westbrook has turned his numbers around after an awful start to the season. His FIP is 3.89 but his ERA hasn’t caught up to it yet

Pitching Matchups

Friday Friday: Ryan Dempster, RHP (6.00, 4.38, 3.46, 3.69) vs Jaime Garcia, LHP (3.28, 2.64, 2.91, 3.20), 7:15 PM CT, WGN

Sophomore slump? What sophomore slump? Garcia continues to outpitch his already impressive rookie season, upping his strikeout rate and slicing his walk rate to an absurdly low 2.23 per nine. He pitched against the Cubs in early May, striking out four and allowing one run over seven innings. He was pounded for 11 runs in three and a third innings in his last outing at Coors. He didn’t help himself as he walked 4 batters and gave up a HR, but it looks like he was also BABIPed as he got 11 grounders to only 5 balls hit in the air.

Demp’s long slog back to a respectable ERA was helped by a two-run, six inning outing against the Mighty Pirates in his last start. In the six starts following his awful, 1/3 inning meltdown vs the d-backs Demp has only thrown one poor start (a five-run outing in Florida). His peripherals still look great, so maybe he can pitch his way to some trade value. Too bad he’ll never be traded, since when the Cubs are 16 games back at the trade deadline they’ll still be contenders, because You Never Know.

Saturday: Randy Wells, RHP (5.40, 5.04, 3.47, 3.79) vs Kyle Lohse, RHP (2.13, 2.85, 3.54, 3.68), 3:10 PM CT, FOX

Wells was probably brought back too soon, but as we saw a rusty Wells is about as good as the shitpile of replacement level starters the Cubs have been trotting out there. Might as well let him rehab with the big league club. He did get seven strikeouts in his four innings of work, which could be a good sign.

Lohse is having a shockingly good year, but a big part of it is BABIP (.230) LOB% (79.1%) and HR/FB (3.7%). Still, his xFIP is a more than respectable 3.54, mostly due to a drastically cut down walk rate (1.68!) . He’s putting a lot of balls in play and it’s working out nicely for him so far, but it shouldn’t last.

Sunday: Carlos Zambrano, RHP (4.23, 3.63, 4.09, 3.62) vs Chris Carpenter, RHP (4.52, 3.57, 3.27, 3.37), 1:15 PM CT, CSN

It’s nice to see these two guys matched up again. It wouldn’t feel like a Cubs-Cards series without it.

After a strangely flat start to the season Carpenter’s peripherals are now much more in line with what you would expect. He’s still having bad luck with BABIP (.343), but after giving up six HRs in his first six starts he’s only given up two HRs in the following seven. His groundball rate has gone down about five points off his career rates, but he has been getting more grounders in his last few starts which probably contributes to his numbers stabilizing.

Z had his second best start of the season in his last outing, and it was the third time he’s gone 8 innings this year. I’m too lazy to look but I’d be shocked if any of the Cubs other starters have gone that deep even once. Of course all anyone could talk about was Z breaking a bat over his leg instead of his great start, the Cubs brief comeback, or Marmol’s implosion in the ninth. I’ve said it before and it bears repeating. Trade Carlos Zambrano ASAP, because he deserves a ring instead of this three ring circus that the Cubs and the media that covers them have become.


Cubs get swept again, at least one more player makes a DL trip by the end of the series.


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