Legends On Deck

Game of the Week: Cardinals vs. Cubs April 5th

One of the things that we try to do at Legends on Deck is find ways to bring the game we love closer to our readers.  Over the next several months, we will be featuring a “Game of the Week”.  We will select one game that is played on a Sunday and highlight it throughout the week.  Our staff will breakdown the featured teams, how they stack up against each other, and will find various ways to bring you the reader, news and information regarding their minor league systems as well.

The game preview will be published the day of the game followed by a recap of the Game of the Week, the very next day.  We hope you follow along as we take you from Opening Day all the way to the pennant chase, with our own take on the teams and players involved.  Enjoy!

Matchup

The first matchup in our “Game of the Week” series is opening night, featuring the division rivals St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs, in their 2,345th meeting overall.  The Cubs hold a slight margin in the series with a record of 1189-1136.

The first time these two franchises faced-off against each other was in 1892, when the then Chicago Colts took on the St. Louis Browns.  The Colts would win the contest 14-10.  Present day, the Cubs have won two straight against the Cardinals, but haven’t won a season series against them since 2010.

Managers

Mike Matheny is entering his fourth season overall as a major league manager all with the St. Louis Cardinals.  He owns a 275-211 record with one National League pennant in 2013, but would lose to the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.  Matheny has finished in the top five the last three years in the Manager of the Year voting.  As a player he played in 13 seasons for four different franchises including being a member of the St. Louis Cardinals from 2000-2004.

Joe Maddon comes over to the Chicago Cubs after spending the last nine seasons as skipper for the Tampa Bay Rays.  He brings along with him 11 years as a big league manager and a record of 781-729 record with one American League pennant to the windy city.  The World Series appearance was back in 2008 where the Rays lost to the Philadelphia Phillies four games to one.  Maddon played four seasons in the minor leagues never going past Single-A as a member of the Angels organization.

Last season……

The 2014 St. Louis Cardinals finished the season 90-72 making the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season, but would lose in the NLCS to the eventual World Series Champion San Francisco Giants.  Baseball in October seems to be a regular thing for the Cardinals as they have only missed out four times in the 21st century.  It seems like that trend will continue as we move into 2015.

Last season……

The 2014 Chicago Cubs finished the season 73-89 missing the playoffs for the sixth straight season.  They have improved in the win column in each of the last three years, and the 73 wins they had last season was the most since 2010.  With a new manager at the wheel and a new ace on their pitching staff, there is certainly reason for optimism among fans.

Key Additions/Subtractions for the Cardinals

The Cardinals were dealt a serious blow this offseason when top prospect Oscar Tavares lost his life tragically.  They didn’t wait too long to make a move as they acquired outfielder Jason Heyward in a trade with the Atlanta Braves for pitcher Shelby Miller.  A few key losses for St. Louis have to be A.J. Pierzynski and Daniel Descalso.

Key Additions/Subtractions for the Cubs

The two very obvious additions to the Cubs have to be Jon Lester and Joe Maddon. The two of them alone raised the hopes of Cubs fans everywhere hoping to bring them places that they only read about in books.  I almost forgot about the trade they made with the Arizona Diamondbacks for catcher Miguel Montero.  The city has reason to be cautiously optimistic this year, but the season is long and anything and everything can and will happen.

Top Prospect – St. Louis Cardinals

Stephen Piscotty drafted 36th overall in the 2012 draft.  Spent 2014 with the Memphis Redbirds (Triple-A)of the Pacific Coast League.  In 136 games he batted .288 with nine home runs and 69 RBI in 136 games.  There is a chance that Piscotty makes his major league debut this season.

Top Prospect – Chicago Cubs

The only way you wouldn’t know about Kris Bryant is if you were avoiding every sports section, every sports segment on television, or any other outlet you can think of.  Bryant is certainly making his case to break camp with the Cubs as their starting third baseman.  He has been killing the ball all spring and everyone is hoping he can carry that over to the season.  He is the game’s top prospect and has really been tearing up the sport so it is only a matter of time until we see him in the big leagues.

John Ginder

Site Co-Founder/Senior Editor and Co-Host at Legends on Deck® The Podcast
In the past John has been a part of such successful sites as MetsMerizedOnline and MetsMinors.net.John was born and raised in upstate New York and has a love of all sports but mainly baseball. He has grown used to heartache with his teams as he roots for the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres too.John has a loving and understanding wife and is the the proud father of two amazing boys.He also loves heavy metal music.

You can also reach out to John at jginder@legendsondeck.com