#Cubs Lackey opens series vs Cards

John Lackey will open the Cubs’ three-game series at Busch Stadium Monday night against the Cardinals. Lackey is 14-4 with a 1.82 ERA in 25 career starts at Busch, including the postseason. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Bryant RF

Zobrist 2B

Rizzo 1B

Soler LF

Montero C

Baez 3B

Russell SS

Lackey P

The Cubs look to avoid losing three in a row for the first time all season. They’ve dropped seven of the last 11 games, and scored 13 runs in the seven losses. They’re batting .190 in the last 11 games.



Soler starting against Wainright? A pitcher with a devastating curve against a hitter who can’t hit a curve.

Reading between the lines, Mat B, I`ve concluded you are suggesting Matt Szczur would be a more prudent choice for a start in left tonight. I can`t disagree with you, but as I`ve opined in the past, the manager is remunerated at the rate of $5 million a year to make these decisions, and no one gives a flip what you and I believe. {Btw, Joe Maddon had a legitimate beef late in yesterday`s game when Baez was deemed to have run out of the base line when he bunted. Another example of the Cubs being hosed by blue.}

Not really. I saw Soler play in Peoria. We sat right behind home plate. It was embarrassing to watch him flail at breaking pitches.

I suppose they want to build Soler’s confidence in this scenario. I guess that’s fine. Szczur will probably enter as a defensive replacement and may get an at bat later in the game.

You are correct. He did enter the game. I do not recall an ab for Matt, but I could have missed it. What I do recall is that we lost the game on a walk-off dinger by a Redbird. We had our opportunities, and did not come through in the clutch. Wish we had more players like Zobrist. He makes contact consistently, and it`s not weak contact either. I hope the youngsters on this team are taking notes. They will not go wrong if they emulate Ben Zobrist. This is a solid baseball player of high character. And I learned tonight a reason why Maddon and Zobrist may have formed a “mutual admiration” relationship. They have something in common. Each grew up as a Cardinal fan, Ben in Illinois, and Joe in Pennsylvania. Did I mention we suffered another loss? We have not fared well of late. I don`t like this recent trend, and you shouldn`t either.

Maybe we’re just coming back down to earth a little. I still like what I see when I look at the team over-all. Note: last year the Cubs were 14-14 in May. I remain confident that we will win the NL Central.

Aloha Bruce- Very true. The other thing is that other teams are playing better and have made adjustments against them. I like the fact that Maddon is giving folks an opportunity to show what they can do and to grow but at the same time other teams are making adjustments against them and it is showing some of the areas that need attention. What is tough is that since May 15th the Pirates have gone 6-2 and the Cardinals 5-3 against the Cubs 2-6. The Pirates went from being 9 games behind to 5 and the Cardinals are 6. That is a lot of ground to give up in a short amount of time. Remember the Brewers who are under .500 almost swept the most recent series and before that another sub-.500 team (Padres) took 2 out of 3. This does concern me because these are teams that you should be beating. We know that the Pirates, Cardinals, Giants, Dodgers, Nationals and Mets are all good teams and are playing better now and I have not even brought up the Phillies or Miami. Couple of bright spots right now from the regulars are Bryant (who is striking out less), Zobrist and Fowler. I just hope that Rizzo-Soler-Russell-Heyward can break out again and then maintain a level of consistency. There is still a lot of ball to play but I think for this team right now is their “season,” that they are going through for which they need to overcome. You take care now and go Cubbies! Mahalo!

Aloha Mat B & jhosk, this was a tough game to watch for many reasons but one is execution. I do not see a team that is hungry. Not saying this is not a good team talent-wise, they are. But are their heads fully in the game? You know I am a big fan of Soler. On that pop fly that brought in the Cardinals first run, he just kept drifting over, made the catch but had nothing on his throw. Now, I am not saying he gets the guy out at the plate but still there should have been a throw, Jorge has a strong arm. If I am the Redbirds and I see that, I tell the guys every chance we get, we run on that guy. Many chances to knock in runners but did not. Lackey’s mistake pitch hurt in the 7th with two outs. I am sure he knew the Cardinals have the best pinch-hitters in the game right now and are hitting for power. Still when the team has chances to execute in the 9th with only one out, they hit into a double play and had a man on 3rd. After watching this game and the past 2weeks, one can see there is still a lot of work to be done with this young team. Not sure how far they go but now thinking about a contingency plan, if Fowler continues to have a good year as does Ross, does the FO take the step to make sure they are back? I am sure the injuries have not helped any. Well, I hope they can “suck-it-up,” and come out firing tomorrow. Mahalo!

I don’t know if Szczur would be able to continue to succeed if given a larger role on the team. None of us do because he hasn’t had that chance. I’d love to see him get 30 at bats over the next 2 weeks, doubling his offensive opportunities to this point. If he does continue even close to the level he has, I would like to see him become the primary left fielder and have Soler become the big bat off the bench.

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