By Clark Lorensen
On Monday, Todd mentioned that this will be the hardest series the Cubs will have played this year. He wasn’t incorrect on his assessment- this Cubs team is just that damn good. The Pirates came in 3 games back and must have had their eyes on getting a first place tie for the division, but the Cubs had other things in mind. That is correct, the Cubs currently hold a 6 game lead over the Pittsburgh baseball club. Cubs starters Jason Hammel, Jake Arrieta, and Jon Lester earned the victories to help the team take a 6 game lead. The Bucs head to St. Louis for a three game series with the Cardinals. I wouldn’t mind if those two teams beat up on each other a bit.
Dusty Baker will be back at Wrigley Field for a four game series, this time with the 19-8 Nationals. Washington will fly in from Kansas City where they won two of the three games. This team has the bats and they have the pitching. This could be the Cubs stiffest competition yet. The Nationals are in the process of proving that last year was a fluke.
It would be nice to see Jason Hayward back in the lineup this weekend, but it is not a necessity. How great has it been to see Javy Baez in the field? He’s also performing above his career average at the plate.
Probable Pitching Matchups
Kyle Hendricks (1-2, 3.52) vs. Joe Ross (3-0, .79) 7:05 Thursday. Keep an eye on Kyle Hendricks following extra time off between starts. A win here would be huge for the third year ball player. He still has time to figure this out, but Maddon will need to look at other options if he loses his way.
John Lackey (3-1, 4.32) vs Max Scherzer (3-1, 3.55) 1:20 Friday. If the wind is blowing out, Scherzer may be in for a long ball game with a lot of runs scored. This might be the most intriguing match-up of the series.
Jason Hammel (4-0, 1.24) vs. Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 1.15) 3:05 Saturday. It’s okay to jump on the Hammel bandwagon. He seems to have made the right changes and has solidified his spot in the rotation.
Jake Arrieta (6-0, .84) vs. Tanner Roark (2-2, 2.35) 1:20 Sunday. Look at that. Jake Arrieta on the bump for Mother’s Day. You don’t think he’s going to disappoint the Cubs fan mothers out there do you?