Forget the rest of the division for now; the Cubs are just ONE .500 game away. That’s all that matters for now. And they have a chance to break even TODAY with Marcus Stroman on the mound against Cardinals left-hander Matthew Liberatore (Jack Flaherty was scratched). Here’s a look at the Cubs’ roster for the final in London.
Chicago Cubs lineup:
- Nico Hoerner, 2B
- Seiya Suzuki, RF
- Chris Morel, FC
- Dansby Swanson, SS
- Ian Happ, LF
- Trey Mancini, 1B
- Miguel Amaya, DH
- Nick Madrigal, 3B
- Tucker Barnhart, C.
Let’s work backwards here: Tucker Barnhart is behind the plate again, and I’m more and more okay with that. He’s still a liability offensively (although he had a good game in his last outing!), but he’s clearly becoming Marcus Stroman’s personal receiver (for example, he starts today despite being a southpaw on the mound for St. Louis). And that’s more important.
Marcus Stroman Catcher Splits:
Barthart: 9 games, 60.2 IP, 1.63 ERA
Goms: 7 games, 38.0 IP, 3.32 ERA
A meaning there? I couldn’t say for sure, but Stroman clearly means it. And that was supposed to be Barnhart’s best added value, so it’s not out of the question that he finally settles down with some guys.
Beyond that, today we have a very different lineup of Cubs. Nick Madrigal continues to draw starts at third overall. But with a southpaw on the mound, Cody Bellinger and Mike Tauchman have the day off. That opens up center field for Chris Morel, who is skyrocketing in the lineup, and first base for Trey Mancini, who has basically been 1B against LHP or nothing. Hopefully he works to refine that defense….
Ian Happ (as a right-hander) is fifth at bat after a torrid three-game streak, including two home runs yesterday, and Nico Hoerner is your point guard.
One more win and the Cubs are back at .500. Let’s do it.
Composition of the cardinals of Saint-Louis:
- Brendan Donovan, LF
- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
- Lars Nootbaar, RF
- Nolan Arenado, 3B
- Willson Contreras, C.
- Nolan Gorman, 2B
- Jordan Walker, DH
- Paul DeJong, SS
- Tommy Edman, FC
Chicago Cubs: Marcus Stroman RHP
Marcus Stroman has a career year – period. He was one of the best pitchers in all of baseball, leading everyone in quality starts and the NL in ERA (2.28 ERA, 3rd in MLB). With a long start today, he could regain the lead in the innings started. Stroman has had a particularly good streak over his last seven games, with just 7 earned runs on 48.2 IP (1.29 ERA). In many ways, he carries this team
Cardinals of St. Louis: Matthew Liberatore, LHP
The Cubs’ roster is full of right-handers this afternoon because Matthew Liberatore has VERY career-high left/right spreads. The big league sample size isn’t huge, but right-handers hit Liberatore’s .318/.396/.553 (.404 wOBA) with 1.23 HR/9 and a K-rate of 15.8%. You don’t want to sit Cody Bellinger and Mike Tauchman too often right now, but today? It made sense.
Chicago Cubs (37-38) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (31-45) at 9:10 a.m. CT on ESPN, 670 The Score