Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals Preview, Sunday 7/29, 1:20 CT

Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano slides safely into third base with a triple as St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter takes the throw at Wrigley Field. Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE

Reading the Sunday morning Ryan Dempster tea leaves, we find some clues from Dave O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Regarding a possible deal:

So what’s still available on the pitching market? Ryan Dempster, obviously. We won’t rehash his resume, since we’ve done it a half-dozen times in the past couple of weeks. Suffice to say, I think if you’re going to give up a top-10 prospect – one, not multiple top-10 prospects — for a rental player, he’d be a reasonable one to do it for, given his seasonal and recent performance, the fact he badly wants another trip to the postseason and to finish strong in his free-agent walk year, and this: In the past three seasons, he’s 9-5 with a 3.47 ERA in 17 August starts, with 99 strikeouts in 106-1/3 innings, and 6-7 with a 3.42 ERA in 17 September starts, with 95 strikeouts in 110-1/3 innings.

And no, neither he nor the Braves have ruled out the deal, despite all the water under that bridge. Still won’t surprise me if it happens.

Dempster is still tentatively scheduled to start for the Cubs Tuesday. Oddly enough, the Braves appear to need a starter that day:

This time, it really looks like Kris Medlen is moving from the Braves bullpen to the starting rotation.

"We’re going to go in a different direction, give Med a chance," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Saturday after announcing plans to start him Tuesday against Miami in place of struggling Jair Jurrjens.

With that in mind, this time when the Braves told Medlen he would be starting Tuesday, they did so with a caveat: If the team can pull off a trade for a starting pitcher in the next couple of days, Medlen would stay in the bullpen, where he’s filled a valuable role as a bridge between the starters and top relievers.

Medlen did start 18 games for the Braves in 2009 and 2010 -- none since -- but has been far more effective as a reliever (2.92 ERA, 1.18 WHIP in 90 career relief appearances) than as a starter (4.31 ERA, 1.27 WHIP in those 18 starts).

I think there's a pretty good chance Ryan Dempster starts for the Braves Tuesday in Atlanta against the Marlins.

Cubs lineup:

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

Cardinals lineup:

Descalso SS, Craig RF, Holliday LF, Beltran CF, Molina C, Freese 3B, Carpenter 1B, Greene 2B, Wainwright P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Paul Maholm
Paul Maholm
Cubs
vs. Adam Wainwright
Adam Wainwright
Cardinals
9-6 W-L 8-10
3.88 ERA 4.31
76 SO 118
30 BB 32
12 HR 11
vs. StL -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Paul Maholm 9-6 20 19 0 0 0 0 113.2 111 50 49 12 30 76 3.88 1.24


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Adam Wainwright 8-10 20 20 1 1 0 0 123.1 126 65 59 11 32 118 4.31 1.28

Paul Maholm looks to extend his excellent July. He has made two starts against the Cardinals so far this year; one was really bad and the other somewhat better (ignore the last three innings of that one, please). This year Maholm has allowed homers to Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina, but those were back in April and May, both in St. Louis. Since June 29 Maholm has thrown 38⅓ innings with an 0.94 ERA and 0.887 WHIP. Keep up the good work.

One more Maholm note: He allowed four home runs in his first two starts; he's given up just eight in 18 starts since then.

Adam Wainwright has faced the Cubs twice this year. The Cubs hit him hard April 13 in St. Louis, including a grand slam by Bryan LaHair; he was better April 24 at Wrigley Field, but the Cubs won that game off the St. Louis bullpen. He's had a rough year (4.31 overall ERA) but a better July (2.70 ERA). Maybe we're not doomed today.

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 1:20 p.m. CDT and the overflows at 2:20, 3:20 and 4:05 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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