First, a quick look at the series between the Cardinals (15-14) and the Cubbies (9-17):
- Adam Wainwright and Travis Wood start Friday at 1:20 central
- Michael Wacha and Jake Arrieta are slated for Saturday at 12:05
- The series closes Sunday at 7:05 with Lance Lynn and Jason Hammel on the docket
If I were a Chicago Cubs fan, I'd be positively giddy about how 2014 has started. As I discussed the last time the Cardinals met them, the Cubs are unlikely to even reach mediocrity this year. Therefore, the most important thing for the 2014 Cubs is to work hard toward making the 2016 Cubs competitive. To that end, the progress of young stars Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro, who both struggled in 2013, is the most vital thing happening on the major league team this season.
So far, so good:
|PA||AVG||OBP||SLG||K%||BB%||BABIP||LD%||GB%||FB%||Ave FB dist.|
|PA||AVG||OBP||SLG||K%||BB%||BABIP||LD%||GB%||FB%||Ave FB dist|
The May Schedule
The Cardinals will run their home-away deficit up to 26 away vs 12 home at the end of their month-opening road trip, but then will be home every series from May 12-June 3 excepting a 3 game set at Cincinnati in the middle of that period.
How it all breaks-down:
- 3 away & 4 home against the Cubs (9-17)
- 3 away & 3 home against the Braves (17-10)
- 3 away against the Pirates (10-18, pending Thursday night's game)
- 3 home against the Diamondbacks (9-22)
- 3 away against the Reds (13-15)
- 3 home against the Yankees (15-12)
- 3 home against the Giants (17-11)
Seeing him struggle a bit in the majors, it's easy to forget just how consistently good was Kolten Wong throughout his career in the minors. It would be surprising to me if he doesn't hit well enough in AAA to work his way back up to the big leagues in the next couple of months, especially considering the strong support he apparently has from the front office. When that happens, I can't imagine a scenario where both Daniel Descalso and Greg Garcia remain with the club. Look for a true battle between the 2 players, and if Descalso continues his struggles at the plate (he's currently sporting a .125 BA & his wRC+ is 1, yes, 1), he might find the limits of Mike Matheny's ample trust.
I don't think Shelby Miller will be in the rotation June 1. He currently sports the worst FIP (6.19) in the majors among qualified pitchers. This is not the kind of pitching that can be outperformed in ERA for long, and as Joe pointed out this morning, there are some real concerns with the quality of his best pitch. I'm not sure what's wrong, but he's lost a lot of movement on the pitch he throws over 70% of the time since the heady days of early 2013.
Mike Matheny showed late last year that Shelby has no iron hold on a rotation spot, and there are several options on the horizon. Joe Kelly should be returning shortly and Tyler Lyons has pitched fairly well. Tim Cooney isn't far off, and Jaime Garcia is set to make a rehab start this weekend. Just over a month ago, I wrote in the Over/Under Roundtable (which is already interesting to look back on), that "I'm bullish on a healthy and rested Miller this season." I don't know if he's healthy, but watching his K% and BB% converge under his HR/FB% has left me feeling awfully bearish about Shelby's chances of keeping his job without fundamentally changing how he's pitching.