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Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals preview, Friday 7/21, 1:20 CT

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The Cubs are going for their seventh win in a row.

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Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Since the All-Star break:

Cubs 6-0
Brewers 2-5

And that’s how quickly a 5½-game lead can evaporate. The Cubs, who trailed the Brewers by that margin at the break, now are behind by just one game (and are a game ahead in the loss column).

It would be nice to think that the Cubs could finish this weekend in first place, but even if they win this series from the Cardinals, the Brewers are spending the weekend playing the Phillies in Philadelphia. As I did last weekend when those two teams met in Milwaukee, I hope the Phillies can take one of the three while the Cubs are taking care of business at Wrigley.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Heyward RF, Zobrist 2B, Rizzo 1B, Contreras C, Schwarber LF, Happ CF, Russell SS, Baez 3B, Arrieta P

The Cardinals lineup was not available at posting time. Please check the BCB Twitter feed for the Cardinals lineup.

Jake Arrieta vs. Carlos Martinez

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Arrieta’s last five starts: 2.97 ERA, 1.187 WHIP. That’s the kind of performance we had hoped to get from him all year. That includes three really outstanding starts and two mediocre ones. Hopefully he gets some kind of consistency going now.

He has made two starts against the Cardinals this year, with a total of 12 innings in which he’s allowed four earned runs (3.00 ERA, 1.167 WHIP). Those numbers are pretty close to those “last five starts” numbers. Again, hoping this is a sign that Jake is going to have a good second half.

Carlos Martinez is always tough on the Cubs, and this year is no exception: 1.93 ERA, 1.071 WHIP in two starts covering 14 innings, in which he’s struck out 17.

His last five starts: 4.97 ERA, 1.034 WHIP, seven home runs allowed in 29 innings. That suggests that maybe the Cubs can get to him today.

Today's game is on ABC7 Chicago. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Chicago and St. Louis markets).

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

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The 2017 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2016. 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.

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Discuss amongst yourselves.