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Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals preview, Saturday 7/22, 3:05 CT

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The Cubs look to even up their series with the Cardinals.

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Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

A big thank you to the Philadelphia Phillies, who handed the Milwaukee Brewers their sixth straight loss Friday night. The Phillies have the worst record in the major leagues but have now won four of their last five. If they can split the next two games against the Brewers, the Cubs will again be grateful.

Here’s a curious little statistical note I found Friday:

Schwarber went 2-for-4, both singles, in Friday’s loss. He now has 298 plate appearances and raised his BA to .181. That performance actually produced a milestone of sorts for Kyle:

So that’s good. Since his return from Iowa Kyle is hitting .250/.351/.531 (8-for-32) with three doubles, two home runs and five walks.

That’s good performance, albeit in a small sample size. If he can keep that up the rest of the year, he can probably push his BA over .200, which would be an accomplishment given the bad start.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Zobrist 2B, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Contreras C, Schwarber LF, Russell SS, Heyward RF, Jay CF, Lester P

Cardinals lineup:

Carpenter 2B, Pham LF, Fowler CF, Gyorko 3B, Molina C, Voit 1B, DeJong SS, Grichuk RF, Wainwright P

Jon Lester vs. Adam Wainwright

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

Jon Lester has thrown really well in five of his last seven starts. The other two, including the stinker against the Pirates the day before the All-Star break, combined for a 14.29 ERA in 5⅔ innings. The other five? 33 innings, eight earned runs, 2.18 ERA.

So for Lester, it’s been feast or famine. 11 of his 20 starts have been good-to-excellent, the other nine some form of “bad.”

Against the Cardinals this year: two starts, 10⅔ innings, four earned runs (3.38 ERA), 16 strikeouts. Jon was really good in his last outing, against the Braves, and I am looking for that to continue in a good second half.

Adam Wainwright has had a rough year. After a bad start he got his ERA down to 3.79 on June 1, but since then: eight starts, 7.02 ERA, 1.122 WHIP, eight home runs in 41 innings. That included a start of less than two innings in which the same Orioles team Cubs pitchers dominated pounded him for eight runs.

On the other hand, the last time he started against the Cubs, May 14 in St. Louis, he threw seven shutout innings. Let’s hope we get the bad Adam today.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago. It’s also on FS1 (no blackouts).

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.