Baseball

VS

 

Records: Cardinals 2-3 / White Sox 10-9

Start Times: Saturday game 1 1:10/Game 2 4:00/ Sunday 1:10

TV: NBCSN

Dude, That’s Not Pizza: Viva El Birdos

 

Probable Starters

Game 1: Adam Wainwright (1-0 1.50 ERA) vs. Lucas Giolito (1-1 4.37 ERA)

Game 2: TBD vs. TBD

Game 3: TBD vs. Dallas Keuchel (2-2 3.04 ERA)

 

It’s been a bit since I’ve gotten the chance to talk with you all about the Sox. Unfortunately work occasionally cuts into my ability to churn these things out. Suffice to say in the time since I posted the Brewers preview some stuff has happened. The Sox started out gangbusters against the Brew Crew, then faded down the stretch. Then they lost 2 of 3 to the Tribe, and the first game to the Tigers before Dallas Keuchel decided enough was enough. He gave the young offense a verbal lashing, then repeated what he said (with less cursing, I’m assuming) to the local media.

What he said apparently worked, as the Sox dropped 15 runs on the heads of the Tigers after only scoring 10 the previous 6 games combined. Having Tim Anderson back certainly helped, as he kicked off the party by drawing an 8 pitch walk his first at bat back and was later knocked in by Eloy Jimenez with the 3 run shot. He also fell a double short of the cycle on Wednesday, going 4-5 and welcoming Matthew Boyd to the game by smoking a no-doubter into the left field seats.

Taking 2 of 3 from the Tigers should be the bare minimum for this team going forward if they have any interest in making the postseason this fall. Standing in the way of that this weekend are the Rona-laden St. Louis Cardinals, who have thus far only played 5 games this season.

We could go over how ridiculous it is ad nauseum to have the Cards try and pack 55 games in 42 days like they’re going to have to do to play out the string, but that’s best left to angrier people like our old boss Sam.

What this does mean is the White Sox are getting to play a team that hasn’t taken the field in over 2 weeks. One would have to assume both their hitters and pitching staff will be pretty rusty, and with the appropriate aggressiveness, be taken advantage of.

The Red Birds have only announced one starter thus far, and that’s the aging prince Adam Wainwright for game one of the doubleheader tomorrow. After only pitching 160 innings total from 2016-18 due to various maladies, Wainwright was able to reinvent himself last season which for a 39 year old is no mean feat. He started 31 games in 2019, going 14-10 with a 4.19 ERA. While that’s nowhere near the numbers when he was at the height of his powers, for a 5th starter on a team with playoff aspirations you could do a whole lot worse.

For the Cards actual ace, they turn the ball over to Jack Flaherty. Last year Flaherty went 11-8 with a 2.73 ERA and 231 strikeouts. His WHIP was outstanding at .093 which is pretty nuts for an entire season. Flaherty doesn’t throw smoke, usually topping out around 93-95 mph. What he does have is pinpoint control, which his 2.52 BB/9 rate proves. He mixes 4 pitches with regularity (4 seam, curve, changeup, and slider), and the slider has the kind of movement usually reserved for frisbee golf. Luis Robert is gonna see a lot of those, as will Eloy.

Were I a betting man, I’d put my money on him facing off against Keuchel on Sunday. The kid is the real deal, and as long as he’s healthy should anchor the Cards rotation for the foreseeable future.

Speaking of the future of the Cardinals, this weekend should feature the debut of uber-prospect Dylan Carlson (#1 in the Cards pipeline and #18 overall in MLB according to MLB.COM). Carlson was the Cards #1 overall pick in 2016, and slashed his way through their minor league system without getting much competition. Through AA and AAA ball last year, Carlson slashed  .292/.372/.542 with a .914 OPS in 126 games, which looks kind of like the Sox own CF prospect. Carlson is a switch hitter with a plus hit tool, and is an above average defender in the outfield. Hopefully he takes a few games to get his feet under him and is more a problem for the Cubs and not the Sox.

For the pale hose this weekend, the question is whether or not they can sustain the hot hitting they got in the final two games of the series against the Tigers. Pitching wise having both Giolito and Keuchel going in the series is a good thing, and game 2 Saturday would be the perfect time to use Ross Detwiler in an opener role. Detwiler has been pretty nails thus far in the season being used in a relief role, but hasn’t thrown hardly at all lately. Ricky Renteria decided he’d rather have Drew Anderson get rocked by the Indians on Saturday rather than use Boss Ross. Anderson has since been punted to the land of wind and ghosts (Schaumburg), so this seems the perfect opportunity for Detwiler and pleasant surprise Matt Foster to eat some innings tomorrow.

With the Cards hardly playing since the calendar flipped to August, the timing is perfect to steal at least 2 of 3 from STL. Having Tim Anderson lighting the fuse at the top of the lineup seems to be working, so more of that please. Luis Robert smoking that bases clearing double Wednesday is hopefully a sign he’s adjusting to the steady diet of breaking balls he’s been seeing over the past few weeks. Keep Eloy out of the netting, and the series should be theirs.

Let’s Go Sox

 

 

Baseball

vs.

RECORDS: Cubs 82-77   Cardinals 90-69

GAMETIMES: Friday 7:15, Saturday 6:15, Sunday 2:15

TV: WGN Friday, Fox Saturday, ABC 7 Sunday

OUR EXECUTIONER: Viva El Birdos

PREVIEW POSTS

Depth Charts & Pitching Staffs

Cardinals Spotlight: The Next One

Two years ago, which seems like an eternity now, the Cubs came into St. Louis in the last week of the season. They put the NL Central to bed in front of their greatest enemy, and then the next night ended the Red Menace’s flickering wildcard hopes even though the game meant nothing to them. Fate can be cruel.

Having ended the Cubs playoff hopes, the Cardinals will likely celebrate taking the NL Central right in front of them and their fans deluded enough to enter the gates for this one. Perhaps an interested or even breathing Cubs team could knock the Cards down to a date with Max Scherzer on the road on Tuesday night, but that is not this Cubs team. It’s also incredibly beat up now, which won’t make for much of an excuse as they watch that celebration.

The Cubs will roll into this one with Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Kyle Hendricks, Yu Darvish shelved for the season to protect themselves from themselves. Cole Hamels is only getting a start to try and prove to prospective suitors in the winter he’s not in fact dead. The lineup is going to be utterly hilarious, and you can already hear the Brewers bitching about it from Denver. This is what the Cubs have become, and it does not feel good.

The Cards still have plenty at stake. They need to match whatever the Brewers do in Denver to avoid a 163 and/or wildcard, plain and simple. That’s motive enough you would think. So Dakota Hudson and Adam Wainwright are the first two out of the chute, with Jack Flaherty waiting for a 163, wildcard, or Game 1. It could be any of those. He could even go Sunday if the Cards need it. Considering the lineup the Cubs might put out that day, he could throw a perfect game in 80 pitches.

That’s where it stands. the ultimate humiliation for the Cubs. Who knew it could fall so far in just two seasons? We thought a sea-change had been engineered, and yet here we are forced to watch yet another installment of St. Louis getting one over the Cubs. Perhaps it’s an image that will serve to light a fire under next year’s team, but they’ll need more than that. What is pretty clear is that this is Joe Maddon‘s last series as a Cub manager. Though every fan has been back and forth on what Maddon is and what maybe he should have been, what he definitely was is the most successful manager in the team’s history. It hardly seems like it was only five years ago that his hiring signaled something new about the Cubs, the combination of hope and expectation. If this is how it ends, no matter how you feel, you can’t deny it’s bene a ride.

That article can be written another time, though. And it will.

On a sentimental level, it’s perhaps the last time we’ll see Nicholas Castellanos in a Cubs uniform. There are others who could be doing so for the last time as well. That’s a worry for another time. This is just about getting through it, or pretending it isn’t happening as I’m sure a lot of you will understandably opt for. Some pains are too great to endure first hand. Just knowing it’s happening is enough.