Our pregame prep for this game can be found over at C70 at the Bat.
Thanks Dan, Hi everybody, and a veeeery pleasant good afternoon wherever you may be; welcome to today's game between the 17-12 Cubs, and the 19-11 Cardinals. St. Louis enters today's game in first place in the National League Central, leading Chicago by 1.5 games. The Cardinals fast start over the first 30 games of the season is surprising, given the uncertain nature of their pitching rotation coming out of spring training and the significant changes to their everyday lineup from last year. What's more surprising, however, is that as of today, the Cardinals are the best team in the National League in defense, and have the league's #1 rated pitching staff.
The old mantra is you win with pitching and defense, which they are certainly doing so far.
Your line-ups for today:
R. Johnson CF
ST LOUIS CARDINALS
The most glaring omission is Aramis Ramirez, who is not in the lineup. He took an Adam Wainwright fastball off the wrist in the sixth inning of last night's game. Ramirez is 5-5 with a HR lifetime against Lohse, so I'm sure Kyle doesn't miss him in the lineup.
Game time temp is a cool 57 degrees, and we're ready to begin!
(Note: I'm listening to the game on XM radio, because, even though the #2 and 3 teams in the NL (by won/loss record) are playing in this game, FOX has decided we'd rather watch Arizona play the Mets. I miss the old NBC Game of the Week, which was actually the Game of the Week, not the regional game of the week.)
Lohse, who's 1-1 with a 3.93 ERA lifetime against the Cubs, starts Soriano with a strike, ball outside, another ball outside. On the 2-1 pitch Soriano hits a shallow pop to right. Ludwick does a nice job fighting the sun and makes the catch.
We're joined today by my youngest son, although he's more interested in chewing on the stuffed dog he brought with him and examining every power cord in the room than the excitement on the radio. I am chasing him around as I try to keep some notes on the inning.
Theriot is next: Strike, off-speed away for a ball, then he hits the 1-1 pitch to Izturis, who retires him 6-3. Two out.
The missus has returned with lunch, and we will all be eating while listening to the game.
Derrek Lee with two away. Cutter away, foul ball to right, ball inside, fastball outside and low, called strike, foul to RF, and on the 3-2 pitch he pops out to first.
1-2-3 go the Cubs, after a half inning, Cubs 0, Cardinals coming up.
In the meantime, my sons are chasing burritos, soda cans, shoes, and whatever is not bolted down to the rug. So far, there's a lot more action at my house than at Busch. Maybe I should do a running play-by-play of the events here?
Bottom of the first. Lilly is 3-2 with a 2.93 ERA lifetime against the Cardinals.
Schumaker gets a nice hand as he steps in. Lilly starts him with a strike; Schumaker hits a chopper to Lee and is retired 3-1.
There is a significant amount of burrito stuffing spread all across the room. It's being used as a diversion by my oldest; we go to clean it up, he takes off for another item (like the soda cans). High comedy.
Brendan Ryan digs in; he's 3 for 11 lifetime against Lilly. Ball high, strike, breaking ball high, swinging strike, and he strikes out swinging on a 2-2 fastball. Two out.
I've hidden my soda under the bed. My youngest, undeterred, has crawled to the bed, and is reaching under it for the can. He now has managed to get his head wedged under the bed. A brief time out as I pull him free.
AP is 5-16 against Ted Lilly. Curve ball for a strike, fastball high, another fastball high, another fastball high. AP tries to hit the 3-1 pitch to East St Louis and swings through it, losing his balance (his loss of balance is not something you see everyday). He fouls the next offering back to the screen, fouls the next pitch out of play off to the right, and then hits a weak grounder back to Lilly. Albert is retired 1-3.
1-2-3 go the Cardinals; after 1, no score.
Lunch is proceeding here at the homestead; the youngest is done, and still annoyed he didn't get the soda can. I need to assist the Missus with the oldest, so thanks for stopping by, and over to John at The Cardinal Virture for the second inning. John?
Until next time...
2 hours ago