Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals Preview, Wednesday 5/11, 7:05 CT: Winning At Home

Why have the Cubs stopped winning at home?

Since the start of the 2010 season, the Cubs are 42-57 (.424) at Wrigley Field, 48-49 (.495) on the road. This is in stark contrast to the three previous years; from 2007-2009 the Cubs were 145-97 (.599) at home, while virtually the same as 2010-11 on the road (120-122, .496). Even the awful 96-loss 2006 team managed to do better at home (36-45, .444) than on the road (30-51, .370).

The 97-win 2008 team went 55-26 at Wrigley Field, the best Cubs home record since 1935 (56-21).

Why can't this team win home games? Sure, the crowds are smaller than they used to be, but they have not lacked in enthusiasm despite their size. This team appears to be built to hit three-run homers (although they don't have very many of them); they've got plenty of runners on base but haven't driven them in. Don't blame the weather for that, either; the Cubs have 11 home runs in the awful weather so far at Wrigley Field, but their opponents have hit 19. Of the Cubs' 28 home runs, only nine of them (two by Alfonso Soriano and one each from Geovany Soto, Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, Aramis Ramirez, Marlon Byrd, Jeff Baker and Tyler Colvin) have come with anyone on base, and only four (one each from Soriano, Castro, Byrd and Baker) have come with two men on base. The power outage has Carlos Zambrano and Koyie Hill with the same HR count as Ramirez -- one.

Is that it? A lack of power with runners on? What's the reason? Why can this team play .500 ball on the road, but barely .430 at home? If you have answers, I'll bet Mike Quade and Jim Hendry would like to hear them.

Cubs lineup:

RF Fukudome, 2B Barney, CF Byrd, 3B Ramirez, 1B Pena, SS Castro, LF Soriano, C Hill, P Garza

Via tweet from Carrie, Welington Castillo may get the start tomorrow.

Cardinals lineup:

Theriot SS, Rasmus CF, Pujols 1B, Holliday LF, Berkman RF, Laird C, Punto 2B, Descalso 3B, Westbrook P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Matt Garza
Matt Garza
Cubs
vs. Jake Westbrook
Jake Westbrook
Cardinals
1-4 W-L 2-2
4.43 ERA 6.14
58 SO 22
13 BB 19
1 HR 3
vs. StL -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Matt Garza 1-4 7 7 0 0 0 0 44.2 48 26 22 1 13 58 4.43 1.37


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Jake Westbrook 2-2 7 7 0 0 0 0 36.2 45 28 25 3 19 22 6.14 1.75

Hey, look! A pitching matchup where the opposing pitcher has a higher ERA than the Cubs starter!

Jake Westbrook got off to an awful start this year; his ERA through his first four starts was a Dempsterian 9.82. He's been better in his last three outings, with a win and two no-decisions and a 2.45 ERA since then. He started twice against the Cubs last year, winning both with a 3.97 ERA. He did walk five in 11.1 innings vs. the Cubs in 2010 and has walked 19 in 36.2 innings in 2011. Patience tonight, please, Cubs hitters.

Matt Garza's only career start vs. the Cardinals was three years ago in interleague play, May 17, 2008. It wasn't a very good outing. Current Cardinals are hitting just .211 against him (8-for-38) with no home runs. Garza's 58 K's still ranks fourth in the NL; he's thrown far fewer innings than either Tim Lincecum or Roy Halladay, who lead the league with 66. Also, Garza has allowed just one home run in his 44.2 innings. Only three other pitchers with that many or more innings (Halladay, Justin Masterson and Brandon McCarthy) have allowed just one HR so far this year.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago and FSN Midwest. Outside the Chicago and St. Louis areas the game can be seen on ESPN. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com 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 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 8 pm, 9 pm and 9:45 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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