I know the Cardinals are crumbling like a cookie right now, but there is hope in store. The upcoming schedule:
Four games against the equally crumbling Dodgers;
- Three games against the Houston LoLStros;
- Three games against the Chicago Cubs; and
- Three more games against the LoLStros again.
Yes, they end against the Nationals and the Reds,* but both of those teams will have long since clinched by then and should be resting starters.
The Phillies and Brewers can charge all they want, but I think the Cardinals still have a great shot.
*I originally omitted the Reds from the Cardinals schedule. I’m sure they would like to do that too, but alas, they have to play the games.
Here are the Cubs and Pirates lineups for tonight’s Wild Card game in Pittsburgh:
CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
LF Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
3B Tommy La Stella
2B Starlin Castro
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell
SP Jake Arrieta
Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted Tommy La Stella in the lineup over Jorge Soler or Chris Coghlan, so he starts at third base and Kris Bryant shifts to left field. Bryant started just four games in left field all season, compared to 136 starts at third base. Also of note: After batting Addison Russell ninth–behind the pitcher–116 times this season Maddon has him in the more traditional eighth spot tonight.
RF Gregory Polanco
3B Josh Harrison
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
1B Sean Rodriguez
SP Gerrit Cole
Pedro Alvarez started 119 games at first base for the Pirates and with right-hander Jake Arrieta on the mound he was the presumed starter tonight, but instead manager Clint Hurdle has benched the 27-homer slugger in favor of utility man Sean Rodriguez. Alvarez is vastly superior to Rodriguez offensively, especially versus a righty, but he’s also very shaky defensively. During the regular season Rodriguez started a grand total of one game at first base against a right-hander, so this qualifies as a hunch by Hurdle.