#Cubs and Lackey vs. Cards in finale

John Lackey will close the Cubs’ series against the Cardinals on Sunday night at Wrigley Field vs. Mike Leake. Lackey is 2-0 with a 2.14 ERA (5 ER/21 innings) in his last three starts. He was 0-5 with a 6.12 ERA in seven prior to that. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Zobrist 2B

Russell SS

Coghlan LF

Heyward RF

Contreras C

Lackey P

The Cubs have not lost back to back games since July 25-26 vs White Sox.

Addison Russell has 71 RBI, tied for sixth most by a Cubs player age 22 or younger with Howard Freigau (1925). Vic Saier leads that category with 92 RBI at age 22 in 1913.

*Looking ahead to Cubs vs. Brewers, here are the pitching matchups:

Tue: Game 1, TBD vs. RHP Matt Garza (4-4, 4.83)
Tue: Game 2, RHP Jason Hammel (12-5, 2.90) vs. RHP Chase Anderson (7-10, 4.93)
Wed: LHP Jon Lester (12-4, 2.93) vs. RHP Jimmy Nelson (6-12, 4.07)
Thu: RHP Jake Arrieta (14-5, 2.55) vs. RHP Zach Davies (9-5, 3.80)

*Just for fun: The Sun-Times’ Dan McGrath referenced the Cubs’ lineup from 2013. I wanted to see how many changes there have been since 2011 (before Rizzo). Here you go:

Aug. 14, 2015 at White Sox: Fowler CF, Schwarber DH, Coghlan LF, Rizzo 1B, Bryant 3B, Montero C, Denorfia RF, Castro 2B, Russell SS

Aug. 14, 2014 vs Brewers: Coghlan LF, Baez 2B, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Valbuena 3B, Alcantara CF, Ruggiano RF, Castillo C, E. Jackson P

Aug. 14, 2013 vs Reds: DeJesus CF, McDonald LF, Rizzo 1B, Castillo C, Schierholtz RF, Murphy SS, Watkins 2B, Ransom 3B, Rusin P

Aug. 14, 2012 vs Astros: DeJesus RF, Vitters 3B, Rizzo 1B, Soriano LF, Castro SS, Castillo C, B. Jackson CF, Barney 2B, Volstad P

Aug. 14, 2011 at Atlanta: Castro SS, Barney 2B, Ramirez 3B, Pena 1B, Byrd CF, Soriano LF, Colvin RF, Soto C, Garza P


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It is a bit strange to me that so many people are willing to give Heyward a pass due to his tremendous defense and yet nobody would do the same for Barney. I would think that because Barney touched the ball far more often than a right fielder, his tremendous defense would have been far more valuable with somewhat similar offense.

I suppose you could state that the offense around Heyward can make up for his lack of production. Unfortunately Barney didn’t have that luxury.

Aloha Mat, it is a little ironic. Back during Barney’s time, there was more dread and frustration amongst fan I bet. So, particular players took the brunt of it but one player was not going to turn things around. One huge difference between Barney and Heyward is the contract. After I learned of Heyward’s signing and looked at his history, I hoped that he would be at a minimum .270 hitter. To see where he is at even with great defense does not justify what his salary is for 2016. He may still finish strong leading into the post-season. What will be tough is if he continues on this path, I am sure his agent will instruct him to stay and not to opt-out; that will hurt. I hope he turns things around by the first opt-out year in his contract. We will see. Take care now. Mahalo!

Hmm, I hadn’t taken the contact into account. That would have made Barney’s defense even more valuable due to the low cost. That was a great point to make. I guess during that time, the team just needed more offense.

Aloha Mat- Gosh, this was a hard series. If the Cardinals executed well on Thursday’s night game, they could have well won this series 3-1. I think poster Jason said not to be greedy in terms of wins; I knew where he was coming from. The team did not execute well for the overall series. Lackey pitched well enough to win though he has to stop hitting batters. Zobrist’s error lead to the 1-earned run during Lackey’s stint. In the last two games the bullpen has given up 11 runs in 4.1 innings and 3hr’s for an era of 24.15! The RISP for these two games is 5-14 (not good but not great either). So, this tells you there is work to be done. Of course the bullpen has been hit with injuries and that is a concern because down the stretch it is pitching-pitching-pitching that not only wins games in the regular season but gets you into and hopefully through the World Series! Hendricks and Lackey combined for 2 earned runs over 13.2 innings for an era of 1.36; that is awesome! Cannot ask for much more from your starters. So, to those out there who want to say “well, they are up by 30 games right now, I say it is not how you start (that goes for a game or a season) it is how you finish. This was not a good series and the team is currently 6-7 against the Cardinals with 6 games left against them in the season. So I am by know means in panic mode but am sure that Maddon and company see what we are seeing and working on this right now because after the Brewers series at home the team goes on the road to Colorado-San Diego-LA. That will be a good test for them as they are currently 4-5 against those teams. Take care now, I am sure the team is looking forward to tomorrow’s day off! Mahalo!

Using a combination of Zobrist, Soler and Szczur, it is time for Heyward to sit for at least 5 games. Maybe work on his swing, use him as a pinch hitter/defensive replacement during that time.

Aloha Mat- That maybe true in regard to Heyward, do with him what they did with Castro last year as it helped him to “think about it, visualize.” Sending Heyward to Iowa as the Cardinals did with Wong and others might be good too as not only could he get in more swings immediately but also it just might help ole Tommy L to see as an example how it works in this sport and doing what is most helpful for the whole organization. I also think Baez could play OF too. Let us hope for the best, I want to see Heyward turn things around and remember with Barney that at least when he was having difficulties at the plate his defense was stellar and the same can be said for Heyward. In the end you want a Jason like the 2015 season playing for the Cubs as that only strengthens them. Take care now! Mahalo!

Tonight was déjà vu all over again. This game was a Polaroid of yesterday…an offensive collapse with bases loaded, waste of good starting pitching, and a bullpen debacle. First, as I’ve harped for weeks, the Cubs must improve with RISP. So many times, the Cubs have chances to put teams away, and they fail to do so. Second, I question throwing Rondon in a setup role tonight, having just missed several days due to injury, so accuracy is a concern. At a minimum, Rondon should have been on a short leash. This game may mean little for the regular season, but such a performance, or lack thereof, can cost the Cubs in the post season. As for Heyward, until he learns to hit the ball to the opposite field and drop some bunts to utilize his speed), he’ll continue to pound the ball to the right side for outs, and be an offensive liability. At this point, I’d play him only against righties, bat him eighth, and bring him in the late innings as a defensive move. Lord knows just about anyone else on the bench can give you more production. Let’s hope the Cubs can manage to not play down to the Brewers competition this week. They just blew the Cards series, and I don’t want to see more self-inflicted wounds.

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