Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals Preview, Sunday 7/31, 7:05 CT: The Truth From St. Louis

The Cubs made no deadline deals (apart from the trade of Kosuke Fukudome to the Indians on Thursday). This doesn't go along with my "blow it up" theme from yesterday; maybe I'll have something more tomorrow, but I think I said most of what I had to say on this topic last night. If you need to vent, go to this FanPost. In the meantime, there is a game tonight, but I will be attending the Paul McCartney concert at Wrigley Field, and thus will miss tonight's ESPN Cubs/Cardinals telecast.

For that, I am grateful. Never thought I would say that about a Cubs game, because I love baseball and watching the Cubs. After yesterday's disaster, though, a night off won't hurt.

Speaking of yesterday's disaster, check out what longtime St. Louis columnist Bernie Miklasz said about the Cubs in his game recap:

If you're a new baseball fan and wanted to know why the Chicago Cubs haven't won a World Series since 1908, just slide in a DVD copy of Saturday's bottom of the fifth inning at Busch Stadium.

And there it is: a quick but essential history of the Cubs, conveniently reduced to length. It's a remarkable collection of physical errors, brain freezes, indifference, feral pitching, the obligatory managerial meltdown and other acts of baseball malfeasance.

I could have done without the 1908 reference, but Miklasz is correct. I particularly like the phrase "feral pitching". How anyone in Cubs management can continue to pretend that nothing is wrong beyond a few patches, is beyond me.

So enjoy this game, or try to, if you're watching. Me, I'll be enjoying Sir Paul.

Cubs lineup:

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

Cardinals lineup:

Schumaker 2b, Jay cf, Pujols 1b, Holliday lf, Berkman rf, Freese 3b, Molina c, Descalso ss, Westbrook p
Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster
vs. Jake Westbrook
Jake Westbrook
7-8 W-L 9-4
4.98 ERA 4.86
123 SO 63
44 BB 42
14 HR 12
vs. StL -- vs. Cubs

2011 - Ryan Dempster 7-8 23 22 0 0 0 0 128.1 138 74 71 14 44 123 4.98 1.42

2011 - Jake Westbrook 9-4 23 21 0 0 0 0 116.2 133 67 63 12 42 63 4.86 1.50

Which Ryan Dempster do we get today? The guy who threw eight shutout innings vs. the Marlins on July 15? Or the one who got pounded by the Phillies in his next start after that one? One thing that Dempster has done well this year -- after getting hammered for nine home runs in his first six starts (31 innings), he's given up just five homers and posted a 3.51 ERA in 16 starts (97.1 innings) since then. His one start vs. St. Louis this year, on June 3, wasn't so great, and was responsible for two of those five HR (Lance Berkman, Albert Pujols).

The Cubs are 1-7 against the Cardinals so far this year. The only game they won was started by Jake Westbrook on May 11 at Wrigley Field; they hit him hard, knocking him out in the third inning, getting six hits and five runs in that time. Remember when Cubs teams used to be able to do that? Westbrook has a career 6.59 ERA vs. the Cubs in three starts; Carlos Pena, in particular, has hit him well (11-for-33, .333, four HR).

Today's game is on ESPN. Most of today's games are over, but 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 7:05 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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