Here’s a list of things that are cold: Ice, the other side of the pillow and, sadly, this article. We’ve fallen back down to Earth the past couple of weeks and now sit just 39-34-1 for the season as a whole. But was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Heck no. We persevere.
Here are a couple plays for tonight’s super small MLB slate.
As is always the case when discussing the total of a Cubs game, let’s start with a quick peek at the weather report. It will be gusty at the Friendly Confines this evening, yet the wind will be moving left-to-right, not blowing in, so there’s no reason to fear the over. That makes me happy, because the pitching matchup points in the same direction.
Marcus Stroman has been fantastic in 2023, but the veteran has taken some lumps in his recent outings. Stroman sports a 5.85 ERA dating back to June 25 — a start where he surrendered six runs (three earned) to this very same Cardinals lineup. On the other side, Steven Matz has been underwhelming all season long, pitching to a robust 6.03 ERA on the road and a 5.40 ERA as a starter. Put it this way: The left-hander returned to St. Louis’ rotation more out of desperation than merit.
Matz won’t have the easiest matchup, either. The Cubs have racked up 45 runs in their last five contests, with 17 of those coming against the Nationals in an explosive performance on Tuesday evening. For 2023 as a whole, Chicago sports a 107 wRC+ versus southpaws — definitely its preferred split. As for the Cardinals, they just lead baseball in wOBA (.363) and wRC+ (132) in the month of July. That’s pretty good.
To me, McCormick is still mostly a platoon bat on the Astros’ roster. However, the 28-year-old has recently been making a strong case for more playing time. In 49 plate appearances in July, McCormick is slashing .405/.490/.857 with an insane 265 wRC+. He’s hit so well — combined with several big-name injuries — that Houston moved the outfielder up to the five-spot in its lineup earlier this week. That’s likely where he’ll find himself again this evening, especially with the left-handed Hogan Harris taking the mound for Oakland.
McCormick has crushed LHPs in 2023. In 65 PAs within the split, McCormick is hitting .333 with a .316 ISO and a 1.065 OPS. In fact, among the 267 players with at least 50 plate appearances versus southpaws this season, McCormick’s 193 wRC+ ranks fourth-best. I’d expect him to add to those eye-popping numbers in a matchup with Harris, who sports a 6.51 ERA at the MLB level. Harris has also allowed opponents to slash .354/.448/.595 with a .441 wOBA across his last four appearances. Woof.
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