Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals Preview, Friday 4/13, 2:15 CT

Starting pitcher Matt Garza of the Chicago Cubs stands on the field after making a throwing error during the ninth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field on Thursday in Chicago, Illinois. The The Cubs defeated the Brewers 8-0. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

Take a close look at the photo above, which was taken just after Matt Garza's amazingly bad throw in the ninth inning on Thursday.

It's not just the look on Garza's face that's classic. Look also at the reaction of Brewers first-base coach Garth Iorg.

Something tells me we'll be seeing a lot of replays of this one all year.

Before we move on to this afternoon's game (which is the Cardinals' home opener), I wanted to talk a bit about Cubs attendance. Last year I kept track of total-in-the-house estimates for attendance, but only for the last third of the season. This year, I decided to start from day one. Here are the actual attendance figures and my in-house estimates (always tried to err on the high side) for the first seven home dates:

Date Announced Crowd In-House Estimate 4/5 41,176 39,000 4/7 40,102 33,000 4/8 31,973 21,000 4/9 38,136 26,000 4/10 37,265 21,000 4/11 34,044 17,000 4/12 36,311 20,000

The total announced attendance is 259,007, an average of 37,001. But by my estimates, only 177,000 have actually shown up to the seven games so far, an average of 25,286 per date. Put another way, there have been 82,007 no-shows, or 11,715 per date.

As the weather warms up and schools and colleges let out for the summer, the no-show count should decrease. But those numbers have to be worrisome to the Cubs. The weather for the first homestand this year was actually better than in 2011, when it was drizzly and/or raining for several of those games -- although cool, the five day games all had bright sunshine, which would normally bring a decent walk-up sale.

I'll post these numbers at the end of every homestand this year, along with cumulative totals.

Cubs lineup:

DeJesus RF, Barney 2B, Castro SS, Soriano LF, Stewart 3B, LaHair 1B, Soto C, Byrd CF, Samardzija P

Cardinals lineup was not in at posting time. But then, that might not matter, since it's raining pretty hard in St. Louis right now.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Jeff Samardzija
Jeff Samardzija
vs. Adam Wainwright
Adam Wainwright
1-0 W-L 0-1
1.04 ERA 4.76
8 SO 6
0 BB 1
1 HR 1
vs. StL -- vs. Cubs

2012 - Jeff Samardzija 1-0 2 1 0 0 0 0 8.2 4 3 1 1 0 8 1.04 .46

2012 - Adam Wainwright 0-1 1 1 0 0 0 0 5.2 4 3 3 1 1 6 4.76 .88

Jeff Samardzija made some relief appearances against St. Louis last year which are probably best not mentioned here. His last start against the Cardinals was on September 13, 2010 at Busch Stadium, which actually turned out pretty well. Let's hope for a repeat of that one. Current Cardinals are 14-for-41 against Shark with no home runs.

Adam Wainwright missed all of last year, so the last time he faced the Cubs was September 24, 2010 at Wrigley Field (lineup for amusement value only). Current Cubs are hitting .284 against him (31-for-109) with two home runs. New Cub David DeJesus is 4-for-11 with one of those home runs.

Today's game is on WGN 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 post at 2:15 p.m. CDT and the overflows at 3:15, 4:15 and 5 p.m. 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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