The Cubs begin this series 15 games behind the first-place Cardinals, who enter Thursday's action 21 games over .500, the best record in the major leagues.
Nevertheless, the Cubs have played the Cardinals reasonably well this year. The teams split a pair of games in May at Wrigley; the Cardinals took three of four in St. Louis in June, but since that series ended the Cubs actually have a better record than St. Louis (11-7 to the Cardinals' 8-8).
So I'd expect this series to be competitive, at least; Cubs/Cardinals series always are, no matter where the teams are in the standings. It'd be nice to knock the Cardinals out of first place this weekend, if nothing else.
ICYMI, the Cubs have made yet another bullpen move before tonight's game:
#Cubs to select contract of RHP Michael Bowden from Iowa and option Brooks Raley— Bruce Miles (@BruceMiles2112) July 11, 2013
"Select the contract" means the Cubs have added the player to the 40-man roster, in case you had not heard that specific language before. The move leaves the Cubs' 40-man roster at 39 players.
Valbuena 3B, Castro SS, Rizzo 1B, Soriano LF, Schierholtz RF, Bogusevic CF, Barney 2B, Castillo C, Jackson P
Brian Bogusevic is back after missing a week with a leg problem. Let's hope no more outfielders get hurt.
Carpenter 2B, Beltran RF, Holliday LF, Craig 1B, Molina C, Freese 3B, Jay CF, Kozma SS, Westbrook P
Today's Starting Pitchers
|2013 - Edwin Jackson||5-10||17||17||0||0||0||0||93.1||105||64||57||9||36||82||5.50||1.51|
|2013 - Jake Westbrook||5-3||11||11||1||1||0||0||68.0||66||26||21||3||26||27||2.78||1.35|
This game is a pitching rematch of the game in St. Louis June 19. Jackson threw well enough until Yadier Molina took him deep in the sixth inning; Westbrook didn't allow an earned run.
Jackson has been decent his last two starts. Westbrook had a good outing in his last start vs. the Marlins, though he got hit pretty hard in the starts before that against Houston and Oakland.
Not-so-fun fact: Jackson leads the major leagues in wild pitches this year with 11, tied with Trevor Cahill. No one else has more than nine. Jackson led the majors in wild pitches in 2010 with 20.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago.
Here's the scoop on game threads for 2013. 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.