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Pregame Thread: Cubs vs. Cardinals, Sunday 8/10, 7:05 CT

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St. Louis Cardinals
@ Chicago Cubs

Sunday, Aug 10, 2008, 7:05 PM CDT
Wrigley Field

Chris Carpenter vs Ryan Dempster

Clear. Winds blowing in from left field at 10-15 m.p.h. Game Time temperature: Around 70.

Complete Coverage >

It's not correct to call tonight "must win". However, losing a series to a tough division rival at home wouldn't be good. Big game tonight, thus.

Chris DeLuca in the Sun-Times sizes up some potential playoff matchups. It's too early to count on anything, and you never say you'd "rather" play someone instead of someone else -- sounds presumptuous. However, IF things continue the way they are and the Cubs get into the postseason, they are likely to play the West champion, and I think they match up better with the Dodgers than the Diamondbacks, even with LA's addition of Manny. Just sayin'.

Phil Rogers also has some postseason thoughts today, one of his better efforts.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
R. Dempster
vs. Chris Carpenter
C. Carpenter
12-5 W-L 0-0
2.93 ERA 1.00
133 SO 4
59 BB 2
11 HR 0
vs. StL -- vs. Cubs

I don't think the career records of either of tonight's pitchers vs. the other team mean too much. Chris Carpenter is 7-2, 3.07 vs. the Cubs -- but hasn't faced them since 2006, and several current Cubs (Derrek Lee, .314/.351/.371, 11-for-35, 2 doubles; Alfonso Soriano, .400/.400/.640, 10-for-25, 2 HR, and his former teammate Jim Edmonds, .357/.400/.429, 5-for-14) hit him well. Ryan Dempster's lifetime record vs. St. Louis (in starts only) is 2-4, 5.66, but apart from one start in 2005, where he actually pitched well, he hasn't faced the Cardinals as a starter since September 4, 2002. Only Albert Pujols remains from that Cardinal team. Pujols is .292/.346/.458 (7-for-24, a double, a HR) vs. Dempster; otherwise he handles most of the rest of the current Cardinals pretty well. Dempster is 10-2, 2.77 at Wrigley Field this year and has allowed only four HR in 91 home innings. Tonight's temperatures are going to be cool, with the wind blowing in and dry conditions -- ideal for pitchers.

Tonight's game is on ESPN. But you knew that already. The rest of today's games are at the Mediacenter. Gameday game preview

Once again, a reminder that you can find the overflow comment threads, including the first pitch thread, on the right sidebar of both the front page and any interior page in the box headed "RECENT STORIES IN GAME THREADS". Today's first pitch thread posts at 7 pm CT, and the overflow comment threads will post at 8:00, 9:00 and 9:45 pm CT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.