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Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals Preview, Thursday 5/12, 1:20 CT: The Welington Castillo Era Begins

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Or, more correctly, the Welington Castillo era should begin. There's no reason to not start Castillo at least five times in every six games (or something along those lines) while Geovany Soto is on the DL. I can understand starting Koyie Hill in a day game after a night game (which the Cubs will have on Sunday), or maybe giving Castillo a break after several days in a row.

But at this point, let's see what Castillo can do on an extended basis. He hit everything in sight during spring training (.632 BA), although he hasn't hit that well split between Daytona and Iowa this year (.242/.320/.396 in 103 plate apperances). There have also been questions about him defensively. But we aren't going to find out if he sits on the bench.

Also, today is the 41st anniversary of Ernie Banks' 500th home run, hit at Wrigley Field on May 12, 1970, in front of a small gathering of 5,264. Since MLB still won't allow embedding of videos off their site, here's a link to a short video about Ernie's 500th, which includes pieces of the WGN video from that day that I had never seen before (or, at least, not since that day).

Cubs lineup:

Castro ss, Barney 2b, Byrd cf, Ramirez 3b, Baker rf, Pena 1b, Soriano lf, Castillo c, Coleman p

Cardinals lineup:

Jay RF, Craig 2B, Pujols 1B, Holliday LF, Rasmus CF, Molina C, Descalso 3B, Greene SS, Garcia P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Casey Coleman
Casey Coleman
Cubs
vs. Jaime Garcia
Jaime Garcia
Cardinals
1-2 W-L 4-0
6.29 ERA 1.99
18 SO 44
16 BB 11
3 HR 2
vs. StL -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Casey Coleman 1-2 5 5 0 0 0 0 24.1 27 17 17 3 16 18 6.29 1.77


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Jaime Garcia 4-0 7 7 2 2 0 0 45.1 33 15 10 2 11 44 1.99 .97

This pitching matchup appears to be a no-brainer in the Cardinals' favor. Jaime Garcia is off to a great start and has already thrown two CG shutouts this year. Casey Coleman has been erratic -- has had a couple of good outings but two really bad ones as well.

And yet, each has made one career start against today's opponent. The Cubs beat Garcia in St. Louis last September 13, and Coleman defeated the Cardinals at Wrigley Field last September 25, one of his best starts last year.

So to quote the old Cardinals pitcher Joaquin Andujar: "There is one word in America that says it all, and that one word is, 'Youneverknow.' "

Today's game is on CSN Chicago and FSN Midwest; no national coverage today (except for MLB Extra Innings). 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 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm and 4 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.