Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals Preview, Friday 7/20, 7:15 CT

Chicago, IL, USA; Miami Marlins outfielder Justin Ruggiano is tagged out on a steal attempt at second base by Chicago Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney at Wrigley Field. Credit: David Banks-US PRESSWIRE

So, Ryan Dempster is still a Cub, for one more start, at least. Disappointed? I'm not, because it means that unlike the previous Cubs general manager, current management is waiting until they get the best possible deal, not trading someone just to do it. Some say that having him make this start tonight reduces his value, but if a team wants him badly enough, they'll make the deal no matter when. There are still 11 days until the non-waiver deadline.

And this means we get to go on this merry-go-round for possibly up to four more days; after tonight, Dempster's next scheduled start would be Wednesday afternoon in Pittsburgh. Five games after that -- in case you're keeping track -- would be the day of the deadline, July 31 at home, also against the Pirates. But! That game is a night game, and the trading deadline is 3 p.m. CDT. So Dempster couldn't start the July 31 game and then be traded, as he could if it were a day game.

This non-trade does, of course, give the Cubs a reasonable shot at winning tonight's game. So there's that, at least.

Cubs lineup:

DeJesus CF, Castro SS, Rizzo 1B, Soriano LF, LaHair RF, Clevenger C, Barney 2B, Valbuena 3B, Dempster P

Cardinals lineup:

Schumaker 2B, Craig RF, Holliday LF, Beltran RF, Molina C, Berkman 1B, Freese 3B, Furcal SS, Lohse P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster
Cubs
vs. Kyle Lohse
Kyle Lohse
Cardinals
5-3 W-L 9-2
1.86 ERA 2.80
75 SO 70
25 BB 21
6 HR 11
vs. StL -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Ryan Dempster 5-3 14 14 0 0 0 0 92.0 69 21 19 6 25 75 1.86 1.02


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Kyle Lohse 9-2 20 19 0 0 0 0 122.1 114 41 38 11 21 70 2.80 1.10

If this is Ryan Dempster's last start as a Cub, let's hope he goes out with an outing just as good as his entire season has been. (And, doesn't get hurt again.) This is by far his best year as a Cub, and among the best in the major leagues this year. Oddly enough, one of his worst starts this year was against the Cardinals, the last time the Cubs were in St. Louis on May 14. The Cubs won that game anyway, just before starting a slide. Current Cardinals are hitting .307 (84-for-274) against Dempster and the biggest tormentor is Lance Berkman (19-for-65, .292, six home runs).

Just two teams have scored five runs in a game off Kyle Lohse this year: the Braves, and the Cubs on May 15 in St. Louis. The Cubs had that game won, too; bullpen failures cost them the game. Current Cubs are hitting .359 (52-for-145) against Lohse; the best is Alfonso Soriano (18-for-47, .383, four doubles, three home runs). Maybe we're not doomed tonight.

Today's game is on WGN.

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 7:15 p.m. CDT and the overflows at 8:15, 9:15 and 10 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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