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Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals Preview, Wednesday 4/20, 12:45 CT

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The Cubs go for a sweep in St. Louis. Wouldn't that be sweet?

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

A Cubs sweep in St. Louis is a rare thing. You know, most likely, of the sweep in September 2010, part of the dead-cat bounce that team had under Mike Quade.

Before that the last time a Cubs team had swept the Cardinals in St. Louis was in 1988.

The Cubs also had sweeps in St. Louis in 1978 (twice, as they won the first 12 games between the two teams), 1981 and 1983.

Not one of those Cubs teams finished with a winning record. The last time a Cubs team that finished over .500 swept the Cardinals in St. Louis was June 25, 26 and 27, 1971. I'm reasonably certain this year's team will (at least) finish with a winning record. So it's been a very long time since a good Cubs team swept the Cardinals in St. Louis. Time to do it again.

Also, there's this interesting note about the Cardinals record so far this year:

Cardinals vs. Cubs & Pirates: 0-5 Cardinals vs. all other teams: 7-2

"All other teams" are the Braves, Brewers and Reds, all of whom could possibly lose 90 games this year. Could this be the year the Cardinals falter against good teams?

And, a reminder that possible thunderstorms in the St. Louis area could interrupt this afternoon's contest.

Here are today's particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Fowler CF, Heyward RF, Zobrist 2B, Rizzo 1B, Bryant LF, La Stella 3B, Montero C, Baez SS, Hendricks P

Joe Maddon continues his pattern of giving regulars occasional days off. Today, it's Jorge Soler and Addison Russell resting.

Cardinals lineup:

Carpenter 3B, Piscotty RF, Holliday LF, Adams 1B, Grichuk CF, Molina C, Wong 2B, Diaz SS, Martinez P 

Kyle Hendricks

vs

Carlos Martinez

Kyle Hendricks has made two good starts this year, and has issued just one walk in 12⅔ innings. Last year he made just one start vs. the Cardinals, May 5 in St. Louis, and it wasn't a good one. Current Cardinals are hitting .300 (21-for-70) against Hendricks with three homers, two of them by Matt Holliday, who's 6-for-12 lifetime against him. This game will be a good test for Hendricks, who's been solid since the start of spring training.

Carlos Martinez has also made two pretty good starts this year, one against the Braves, the other against the Reds. Last year the Cubs hit him pretty well -- he posted a 5.24 ERA against them in five appearances (four starts). Current Cubs are hitting .286 against him (20-for-70) with one home run (Anthony Rizzo). Would be nice to see the Cubs bats get going this afternoon.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago. It is also being carried nationally on MLB Network (check local listings).

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. If you do go there to interact with Cardinals fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.

The 2016 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used at the end of 2015. Here's how it works.

You'll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).

At the same time, a StoryStream™ containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.

You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap 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 the game's StoryStream™ as noted above.

The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.

Discuss amongst yourselves.