Cubs vs. Cardinals Preview, Friday 7/12, 3:05 CT: It's A Beautiful Day

USA TODAY Sports

The weather is spectacular in Chicago this weekend. That's something new, at least this spring and early summer.

If you are of "a certain age" you will remember the San Francisco-based psychedelic era band "It's A Beautiful Day" and their one hit "White Bird".

I'm not sure why I thought of them, except for the weather forecast today, one of the best days we've had all year. With the weather being so miserable through most of the early part of the 2013 season in Chicago, we deserve days like this. I expect that today's weather will result in a large walkup sale and one of the bigger crowds of the year.

With today being one of four Friday games being set as 3:05 starts, in advance of the Cubs doing this on a regular basis starting in 2014, I thought I'd go through the schedule and post the starting-time splits for 2013:

12:05: 3
1:20: 33
3:05: 12
6:15: 2
7:05: 29
TBD: 2

The two TBD dates are Sundays that could be taken by ESPN (8/18 vs. Cardinals, 9/1 vs. Phillies). Most likely, both of those wind up as 1:20 games. The 1:20 start is an endangered species; with the additional Friday 3:05 starts and more night games starting in 2014, there will likely be more night starts than 1:20 starts.

Personally, I like the 1:20 starts. But tempus fugit. It's 2013. If this is what the team has to do to compete, do it.

Cubs lineup:

Valbuena 3b, Castro ss, Rizzo 1b, Soriano lf, Schierholtz rf, Bogusevic cf, Barney 2b, Castillo c, Villanueva p 

Cardinals lineup:

Carpenter 2b, Jay cf, Beltran rf, Craig lf, Molina c, Adams 1b, Freese 3b, Kozma ss, Kelly p

Today's Starting Pitchers

Carlos Villanueva

Carlos Villanueva


Cubs

vs. Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly


Cardinals

vs. StL

--

vs. Cubs


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Carlos Villanueva 2-4 25 9 0 0 0 1 74.1 66 30 28 8 20 57 3.39 1.16


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Joe Kelly 0-3 25 2 0 0 0 1 43.1 48 21 20 7 13 34 4.15 1.41

This is a real intriguing matchup. Both of today's starters have gone back and forth between rotation and bullpen this year. Carlos Villanueva had a good start against the Cardinals May 8 at Wrigley Field; that game was lost due to bullpen meltdown. Villanueva also has a scoreless relief outing against the Cardinals this year.

Joe Kelly has mostly bullpen work this year, including one scoreless relief outing against the Cubs June 18 in St. Louis, the only game the Cubs won in that series. He has made two starts, most recently July 6 against the Marlins. The Cardinals won, but Kelly gave up two homers. He's allowed seven HR in just 43⅔ innings this year. Perhaps the Cubs can turn on the power bats this afternoon.

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.

Here's the scoop on game threads for 2013. You'll find the game preview -- like this one -- posting as the first link in the StoryStream™, which will then contain all the overflow threads and the recap. The recap will also be on the front page as a separate post; once I post a game recap, the stream for each game will be retitled "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.

In general, game previews will post two hours before game time. Exception: for day games after night games, that will usually be 90 minutes.

You will also be able to find the First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in this StoryStream™. As I've done for each regular-season game for several years now, we'll have the First Pitch thread at five minutes before game time (moved up from actual game time per your requests), then an overflow one hour, two hours and 2:45 after game time.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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