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Going For The Sweep: Cubs vs. Cardinals Preview, Sunday 7/25, 7:05 CT

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A win tonight would give the Cubs a 7-3 homestand, and put them over .500 for the season at home (27-26).

Sounds good, right? A sweep of the Cardinals would be their first since a four-game sweep from July 27-30, 2006. In fact, the Cubs swept the Cardinals at Wrigley twice in 2006. Think about that for a moment -- the Cardinals won the World Series in 2006, and the Cubs swept them twice. (They also got swept by St. Louis once that year.)

The problem with that being a feel-good story is that the Cubs lost two games during this homestand that were not only winnable, but nearly nailed down. The Cubs should be 8-1 on this homestand and thinking seriously about getting back in the race. Instead, they're 6-3 and only on the barest edge of hanging on, or instead putting up "For Sale" signs near many player lockers.

Whatever happens in the trade market in the next week, it would still be really sweet to sweep the Cardinals tonight.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster
Cubs
vs. Chris Carpenter
Chris Carpenter
Cardinals
8-7 W-L 11-3
3.70 ERA 3.05
130 SO 118
50 BB 39
18 HR 15
vs. StL -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Ryan Dempster 8-7 21 20 1 0 0 0 133.2 117 62 55 18 50 130 3.70 1.25


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Chris Carpenter 11-3 21 21 0 0 0 0 141.2 127 54 48 15 39 118 3.05 1.17

Chris Carpenter is 10-3, 2.73 lifetime vs. the Cubs, including a win on May 28 at Wrigley Field. His ERA is up a bit this year and he's allowed a lot more home runs (15 so far, compared to seven all last year). A few of the Cubs do hit him well: Derrek Lee (15-for-49, .306), Alfonso Soriano (12-for-36, .333), and Tyler Colvin, who hit a pinch-homer off Carpenter in that May 28 game for the Cubs' only run.

Ryan Dempster gave up six runs in 6.2 innings to the Cardinals on May 30 at Wrigley Field, although, to be fair, one of those runs scored after he left the game. Albert Pujols hits him well (.310, 4 HR, 8 walks), but then again, Pujols hits everyone pretty well. The rest of the Cardinals are hitting .267 (44-for-165) against Dempster.

Tonight's game is on ESPN. Fortunately for all of us, since Jon Miller and Joe Morgan were both at the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies earlier today, the announcers for tonight will be listenable: Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser and Bobby Valentine. Most games today are over, but 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 7 pm CDT, and the overflows will post at 8 pm, 9 pm and 9:45 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.