Cubs vs. Cardinals Preview, Friday 4/11, 7:15 CT

Brian Kersey

The Cubs take on their divisional rivals for the first time this year.

Hello, Cardinals.

Did you miss us? The Cubs have lost the last five games they have played against their biggest rivals, and the last series of 2013 -- which were the last three games of the season -- were an embarrassment in which it appeared the Cubs just lay down and quit in being swept and outscored 17-2.

It's a new year and a new(ish) Cubs team that's facing the defending National League champions starting this weekend. The Cardinals are off to a middling 5-4 start, but they have already been shut out twice, which has to be concerning to St. Louis management. In fact, the Cubs have a better run differential (33-36, -3) than the Cardinals do (29-34, -5).

So maybe this series won't be as much of a mismatch as it was for these two clubs in 2013, when the Cardinals won 12 of the 19 games and outscored the Cubs 80-54.

Cubs lineup:

Bonifacio 2B, Valbuena 3B, Rizzo 1B, Schierholtz RF, Sweeney CF, Castro SS, Kalish LF, Castillo C, Samardzija P

Cardinals lineup:

Carpenter 3B, Wong 2B, Holliday LF, Adams 1B, Molina C, Craig RF, Peralta SS, Bourjos CF, Kelly, P

Today's Starting Pitchers

Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija


Cubs

vs. Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly


Cardinals

vs. StL

--

vs. Cubs

Speaking of last year's Cubs/Cardinals games, these two pitchers both pitched in the last game of the 2013 season, September 29, although Kelly didn't start because the Cardinals were giving a "farewell inning" to Jake Westbrook, who is now retired.

Jeff Samardzija pitched well enough that day, but the Cubs were... well, embarrassing themselves. Both Shark and Joe Kelly have pitched well in their outings so far this year; this will be the Cubs' first real warm-weather game of 2014, as the St. Louis-area weather forecast calls for highs near 70 and temps in the 60s for most of the game.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago Plus (check your cable/satellite listings for the channel).

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.

For 2014, we are going to have the same game-thread routine as 2013. Here's how it works.

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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