Cubs vs. Cardinals Preview, Tuesday 9/14, 7:15 CT: Attendance Follies

Last night, the Yankees and Rays fought for first place in the AL East. With that on the line, the game in Tampa drew... 26,907. There's no reason a game like that shouldn't have drawn at least 30,000.

Almost 14,000 more people (40,720) saw (or at least paid for tickets to) the Cubs/Cardinals game last night, and nearly as many (24,384) bought tickets for a meaningless Pirates/Mets game in New York.

What is it about Tampa Bay? That's a great young team that's a World Series contender and is fun to watch. Is it the ballpark? The location? Or do people in Tampa just not care about baseball? Since we learned last week here from a couple of commenters in my Cubs attendance story that the cool sail-design ballpark isn't going to be built in Tampa, what's the future of that franchise?

Meanwhile, the Orioles drew only 9,882 for their meaningless game against the Blue Jays. Granted, the Orioles have been awful this year and that's only the third-smallest crowd in the history of the ballpark (all three others were also this year, in April and May). But what do these numbers tell us about the financial health of certain franchises?

Notes for tonight:

The Southern League championship series between the Cubs affiliate Tennessee Smokies and the Marlins affiliate Jacksonville Suns begins tonight at 6:15 CDT. Here's the scoreboard page; I assume there will be a Gameday link and audio links there when the game starts.

Cubs lineup via tweet from Carrie:

#Cubs lineup Tue vs #Cardinals is RF Fuke, 2B DeWitt, CF Byrd, 3B Ramy, 1B Nady, C Soto, LF Colvin, SS Barney, P Wells

Also via tweet from Carrie:

No albert pujols tues nite vs #cubs because of sore elbow #cardinals
Today's Starting Pitchers
Randy Wells
Randy Wells
vs. Adam Wainwright
Adam Wainwright
6-13 W-L 18-10
4.61 ERA 2.38
131 SO 191
58 BB 51
19 HR 14
vs. StL -- vs. Cubs

2010 - Randy Wells 6-13 29 29 0 0 0 0 171.2 192 93 88 19 58 131 4.61 1.46

2010 - Adam Wainwright 18-10 34 30 5 2 0 0 208.1 163 61 55 14 51 191 2.38 1.03

Adam Wainwright has had a strange year. He ranks second in the NL in ERA at 2.38, and 15th in run support per start... yet he is 18-10, and even that's unusual, having 28 decisions in 30 starts. A quick scan of his game logs shows the issue: not counting the two no-decisions (both Cardinal losses by shutout), the Cardinals have scored 17 runs in Wainwright's 10 defeats. So, keep St. Louis from scoring a lot of runs and you can beat him. He beat the Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 30.

Randy Wells has made two starts vs. the Cardinals this year. On May 28 at Wrigley Field, the first six batters all got hits and Randy was pulled from the game without retiring a hitter. But then on July 23 he threw seven shutout innings against them, allowing only five singles and three walks. In short, who knows? Tonight will be Randy's first-ever start in St. Louis; he grew up and still lives in the St. Louis area, so I'd imagine he'll have some family and friends at the game.

Today's game is again on CSN Chicago and FSN Midwest. Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Cardinals site Viva el Birdos.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 7:15 pm CDT, and the overflows will post at 8:15 pm, 9:15 pm and 10 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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