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Friday at 1:20 pm CT – Chris Carpenter vs. Chris Volstad
This will be the season debut for Carpenter, who was not expected to pitch this year after undergoing mid-July surgery. But with exceptional conditioning work, Carpenter pushed his way through a throwing program so he could return to help. Volstad gave up 10 hits and walked four over 4 2/3 innings against the Pirates in his last start. After opening the year 0-7 with a 7.94 ERA in nine games, he has a 4.76 ERA in nine starts since he rejoined the Cubs in early August.
Saturday at 12:05 pm CT – Adam Wainwright vs. Travis Wood
While some fear he’s getting fatigued, Wainwright is proving otherwise. A two-run homer accounted for the only runs he gave up on Sunday. With his arm slot issues righted, Wainwright said he feels he is back on the right track. The lefty took the loss in his last outing against the Pirates, despite striking out a personal high nine batters. Wood is holding hitters to a .184 average in his last four starts. He’s 0-2 vs. the Cardinals, losing back-to-back starts in July.
Sunday at 1:20 pm CT – Kyle Lohse vs. Justin Germano
Owner of baseball’s best winning percentage (.833), Lohse has lost just once since June 15. He continues to be the most consistent starter on the staff, and Lohse has limited opponents to two or fewer earned runs in 23 of his 31 starts this year. Germano held the Reds to three hits over five scoreless innings, then walked the bases loaded in the sixth in his last start. He walked five in the game after having not issued more than two walks in any of his starts this year.
Right now, with most of a losing season behind us, and the specter of 100 losses still hanging over our heads, I think we can still find reasons to celebrate these Cubs. The best possible reason would be if they can help knock the Cardinals out of playoff contention. I’m serious, because I can’t endure another magical playoff run for St. Louis. The sooner they’re eliminated from the postseason, the sooner I can breathe easy.
I don’t know if Dale is one for making big pre-game speeches to inspire the team, but if he’s been sitting on one, now’s the time to bust it out. Something along these lines ought to do it.
On my list of Cubs priorities, keeping the Cardinals out of the playoffs is just below the Cubs making the postseason. We can still salvage some moral victories, and that would be a big one.