Cubs vs. Cardinals Preview, Friday 8/9, 7:15 CT: Hey, Look! A Contender!

Hunter Martin

The Cubs are back to playing a contending team after three games in Philadelphia. That series wasn't good. This one isn't likely to be any better.

The Cubs have actually played the Cardinals reasonably well this year; they're 3-3 against St. Louis at Wrigley Field, but lost three of a four-game series at Busch Stadium in June. Two of those losses were close games that were broken up by one swing of the bat. That's what usually happens when good teams play not-good teams.

Nevertheless, the Cubs have at least a chance to put a dent in St. Louis' playoff hopes. The Cardinals' loss to the Dodgers Thursday night was their 11th in their last 15 games, although St. Louis just finished a stretch where they played the Braves, Pirates, Reds and Dodgers in that order. You can bet the Cardinals will be happy to see a non-contending team visit over the weekend, especially when they are just three games ahead of the Reds for the second wild card spot (although, realistically, the Pirates, Cardinals and Reds are likely all making the playoffs and are going to decide only who wins the division and who hosts the wild-card game).

The Cubs come in at season lows of 14 games under .500 and a -38 run differential. That still leaves them at three games below their Pythagorean projection (53-61).

ICYMI, the Cubs are reportedly going to have a new outfielder, Darnell McDonald, perhaps tomorrow.

Cubs lineup:

Lake LF, Gillespie RF, Rizzo 1B, DeJesus CF, Murphy 3B, Castillo C, Castro SS, Barney 2B,Rusin P

This is the first time David DeJesus has hit cleanup... ever. Insert "other split squad" joke, etc.

Cardinals lineup:

Carpenter 2b, Freese 3b, Craig rf, Holliday lf, Adams 1b, Cruz c, Jay cf, Kozma ss, Lynn p

Today's Starting Pitchers

Chris Rusin

Chris Rusin


Cubs

vs. Lance Lynn

Lance Lynn


Cardinals

vs. StL

--

vs. Cubs


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Chris Rusin 1-1 4 4 0 0 0 0 20.1 18 9 9 2 7 13 3.98 1.23


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Lance Lynn 13-5 23 23 0 0 0 0 143.0 124 60 60 8 52 140 3.78 1.23

Chris Rusin has pitched... decently enough since his recall. The ellipse is there because a couple of his starts have been bad, but the others have been pretty good. He has never faced the Cardinals nor anyone on their roster. You know what usually happens when the Cubs face a pitcher like that. Maybe it'll work the same for the Cardinals.

Lance Lynn is having almost exactly the year he had in 2012 -- a good start, a rough stretch, then recovering his previous level. The Cubs hit him hard July 13 at Wrigley Field, including two home runs. However! Both of those homers were hit by players not on the current roster (Alfonso Soriano, traded; Luis Valbuena, DL). In four starts since that game, Lynn has a 2.77 ERA and only one HR allowed in 26 innings. We're probably doomed.

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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