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One Last Shot At A Miracle: Cubs vs. Cardinals Preview, Friday 7/23, 1:20 CT

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Before you read this, know that I acknowledge that what I'm about to write is a real longshot.

The Cardinals just ran off an eight-game winning streak that ended yesterday; they got one-hit by the Phillies in an 11-inning loss. The Cubs trail them by 11 games. The only realistic way for the Cubs to have any chance to get back in the NL Central race is to sweep them.

Is that likely? No. In fact, I'd call it extremely unlikely, especially since the Cubs will be facing Chris Carpenter on Sunday night.

Nevertheless, there it is. The Cubs really should be 6-1 on this homestand after blowing winnable games last Saturday against the Phillies and Wednesday to the Astros. But they're not, and so this is a last-gasp effort. Failing that, I suspect you'll see a deal or two made by the Cubs as next week's non-waiver trading deadline approaches.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Randy Wells
Randy Wells
Cubs
vs. Jeff Suppan
Jeff Suppan
Brewers
4-7 W-L 0-5
4.33 ERA 6.05
88 SO 31
30 BB 24
8 HR 8
vs. StL -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Randy Wells 4-7 19 19 0 0 0 0 112.1 126 55 54 8 30 88 4.33 1.39


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Jeff Suppan 0-3 6 6 0 0 0 0 30.0 39 15 14 4 12 13 4.20 1.70

The only headshot photo available of Jeff Suppan is the one you see above, in a Brewers cap. Maybe that's appropriate, because the first two starts Suppan made this season were against the Cubs, one at Wrigley Field and one in Milwaukee... and the Cubs pounded him hard in both of them. He's 0-1 in those games with an 8.68 ERA and 16 hits and three HR allowed in 9.1 innings. This is the last year of the four-year deal he signed with Milwaukee before the 2007 season (there's a $12.75 million club option and a $2 million buyout for next year); undoubtedly, this is Suppan's last year in the major leagues. Let's hope the Cubs can hit him hard again a couple times before he heads to retirement. Derrek Lee, in particular, nails him: .429/.529/.875, 24-for-56, with seven doubles, six HR and 11 walks.

One more note: whenever you bash Jim Hendry for bad free-agent signings, think about Suppan. Since he signed that contract he's 29-39 with a 5.04 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP.

Randy Wells warmed up briefly on Wednesday, in case the Cubs tied the game; he would have come in to pitch the 13th and Tom Gorzelanny would have gone today. Didn't happen, so Randy takes his regular turn today. The last time he faced the Cardinals, on May 28 at Wrigley Field, is best forgotten; he faced six batters and gave up hits to all of them before he was yanked from the game. He has allowed current Cardinals a .370 average (10-for-27); all but one of those hits is a single (the other, a double by Yadier Molina).

Today's game is on WGN and FSN Midwest. 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 be up at 1:15 pm CDT, and the overflows will post at 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm and 4 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.