Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals Preview, Tuesday 5/15, 12:45 CT

Write your own caption: Darwin Barney of the Chicago Cubs ducks from an inside pitch while bunting against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

One thing I'd have liked to see this afternoon is Alfonso Soriano NOT in the lineup. Unfortunately, I'm not getting my wish:

Cubs lineup:

DeJesus RF, Campana CF, Castro SS, LaHair 1B, Soriano LF, Stewart 3B, Castillo C, Barney 2B, Maholm P

This would have been a perfect time to give Soriano a day off -- day game after night game. Unfortunately, Dale Sveum doesn't agree. Perhaps Sveum might agree that his bunting fetish has gone a little too far. Maybe the Cubs could actually get a decent lead, as they had last night, and hold it? Too much to ask?

Cardinals lineup:

Furcal ss, Schumaker cf, Holliday lf, Craig rf, Berkman 1b, Molina c, Carpenter 3b, Greene 2b, Lohse p

The Cardinals will be without Carlos Beltran again today, and are giving David Freese the day off. Sounds like a good time to take advantage of a less-than-100% St. Louis lineup.

Players hate two-game series. Because of the current divisional setup, every year we have one week's worth of the schedule with these series; perhaps next year, with realignment, these could be eliminated. In the meantime, let's hope for the sweep today; then the Cubs have more than 24 hours until the next game, Wednesday night at Wrigley Field against the Phillies.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Paul Maholm
Paul Maholm
Cubs
vs. Kyle Lohse
Kyle Lohse
Cardinals
4-2 W-L 5-1
4.05 ERA 2.08
17 SO 27
9 BB 8
5 HR 3
vs. StL -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Paul Maholm 4-2 6 6 0 0 0 0 33.1 27 15 15 5 9 17 4.05 1.08


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Kyle Lohse 5-1 7 7 0 0 0 0 43.1 36 12 10 3 8 27 2.08 1.02

After a horrific start to this season, Paul Maholm has posted an ERA of 1.07 and a WHIP of 0.83 in his last four starts -- he's been excellent over that span, covering 25⅓ innings. Unfortunately, one of the two horrific starts was against the Cardinals, exactly one month ago today, April 15 in St. Louis. He gave up a three-run homer to Yadier Molina that day, among other things. Let's hope he learned from that outing.

Kyle Lohse missed both the earlier Cubs/Cardinals series this season; he hasn't pitched against the Cubs since this solid outing on Sept. 24, 2011. Possible good news: current Cubs are hitting .358 (43-for-120) against him with four home runs, three by Alfonso Soriano and one by David DeJesus, who is 8-for-16 lifetime against Lohse.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago. 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 post at 12:45 p.m. CDT and the overflows at 1:45, 2:45 and 3:30 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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