Cubs vs. Cardinals Preview, Sunday 9/20, 7:05 CT

Five months and a day ago, the Cubs and Cardinals were supposed to meet on ESPN on Sunday Night Baseball. The Cubs were 7-4 and had won two of the first three games of the series; the Cardinals were 8-5.

The game was rained out. Since then... well, things are a bit different. The Cardinals are on the verge of clinching the NL Central title and the Cubs are ending what can only be called an extremely disappointing season. Nevertheless, it would be nice if the Cubs could at least take one game in this series and make the Cardinals wait a few more days to clinch.

I honestly wasn't going to write any more about Milton Bradley today. But then I read Bruce Miles' story about Milton and his attempts to do a nonconfrontational interview. It didn't turn out that way:
When approached, Bradley said he didn't want to talk about his knee.

When asked if he was disappointed in his own performance, he didn't want to answer that, either.

"I'm not talking about that," he said. What do you think I did?"

Bradley claimed to have no opinion on where he bats - "In the lineup," he said of his preferred spot - and the only time he became expansive at all was when he was asked if he had enjoyed his first season in Chicago.

"Not really," he said. "It's just not a positive environment. I need a stable, healthy, enjoyable environment. There's too many people everywhere in your face with a microphone asking the same questions repeatedly. Everything is just bashing you. You got out there and you play harder than anybody on the field and never get credit for it. It's just negativity.

"And you understand why they haven't won in 100 years here, because it's negative. It's what it is."

Asked whether he was talking about the fans, the media or even the Cubs organization, he replied: "It's everything. It's everybody."

No, Milton. It's YOU. The source of the negativity is YOU. You are your own worst enemy. There isn't a single player I can think of -- with the possible exception of Todd Hundley -- who has come to Chicago with high expectations, failed to fulfill them and then blamed everyone but himself for his troubles. I am glad you'll be elsewhere next year.

Let the firestorm begin.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Carlos Zambrano
Carlos Zambrano
Cubs
vs. Adam Wainwright
Adam Wainwright
Cardinals
8-6 W-L 18-8
3.94 ERA 2.59
132 SO 183
70 BB 61
10 HR 16
vs. StL -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Carlos Zambrano 8-6 32 25 0 0 0 0 148.1 142 72 65 10 70 132 3.94 1.43


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Adam Wainwright 18-8 37 31 1 0 0 0 212.0 196 66 61 16 61 183 2.59 1.21

Adam Wainwright is 3-0 with a 2.73 ERA vs. the Cubs this year in four starts. The Cardinals won the fourth of those games, too, on April 24, when the Cubs' bullpen blew a 3-0 lead after six innings. Which raises a good question: does anyone know how many such games there have been this year? When a Cub starter was taken out of the game in the seventh inning or later with the lead, only to see it blown? If anyone has that number, it would be illuminating. Aramis Ramirez is the Cub who hits Wainwright best: 11-for-29 (.379, four doubles, a HR).

Carlos Zambrano pitched well vs. the Cardinals in the July 12 day game at Wrigley Field. But I keep waiting for Z to be that dominant Z we have seen in the past. In his last start he threw four outstanding innings, then got pounded in the fifth. He needs to show more consistency. He has never lost a game in the new Busch Stadium -- four starts, 4-0, 1.32. It'd be nice if he kept that streak going tonight.

Tonight's game is on ESPN; turn the sound off if you don't want to hear Joe Morgan's bleatings. For other games today, although most of them are over by now, see the MLB.com Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Cardinals site Viva el Birdos.

Once again, just two overflow threads today -- 8:15 pm and 9:30 pm CDT. If there's a need for another one, please post as a FanShot.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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