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Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals preview, Saturday 9/16, 3:05 CT

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The Cubs go for their fifth straight win.

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Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

An update on Friday night’s action, if you missed it:

  • The Brewers broke open a tight game with an eight-run eighth and crushed the Marlins 10-2. Thus Milwaukee remains three games behind the Cubs in second place in the N.L. Central. 19,369 attended the game, which was relocated from Miami to Milwaukee due to Hurricane Irma.
  • The Cubs’ magic number to eliminate the Brewers thus remained at 13. The elimination number for the Cardinals, who dropped to third place and four games behind the Cubs, is 12.
  • Both the Brewers and Cardinals remain alive in the wild-card race. The Rockies, who currently inhabit the second wild-card spot, won Friday night to remain 2½ games ahead of the Brewers and 3½ ahead of the Cardinals.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Zobrist RF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Contreras C, Almora CF, Happ 2B, Baez SS, Jay LF, Hendricks P

Cardinals lineup:

Carpenter 3B, Pham LF, DeJong SS, Martinez 1B, Fowler CF, Molina C, Piscotty RF, Garcia 2B, Wacha P

Kyle Hendricks vs. Michael Wacha

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

Kyle Hendricks since returning from the DL: 2.58 ERA, 1.197 WHIP. These numbers are fairly close to his numbers from last year, not quite as good but at least in the same ... ballpark.

Anyway: More importantly, Kyle’s velocity seems to be returning. He still throws 84-85 or so at the starts of games, but seems to hold back a little for later innings when he can touch 90. The better his fastball velocity, the better his changeup will work.

His only start vs. the Cardinals this year was June 4 at Wrigley Field, and it was not a good one: four innings, four hits, three walks, four runs. It was just after that start when Kyle went on the DL, so I don’t think you can read anything into it.

One year and four days ago, Hendricks no-hit the Cardinals for eight innings, until Jeremy Hazelbaker led off the ninth with a home run.

Michael Wacha was Kyle’s opponent that June day earlier this year, and it was one of his worst starts of 2017: six runs in 4⅓ innings. Ian Happ homered off him twice that evening. The Cubs also hit him pretty hard July 23 at Wrigley: five runs in six innings, including home runs by Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber.

That’s four home runs by Cubs hitters off Wacha this year in two starts. In his 25 other starts he’s allowed a total of 12 homers. In 14 career appearances (12 starts) against the Cubs, Wacha has a 6.45 ERA, 1.463 WHIP, and 15 home runs allowed in 68⅓ innings.

Let’s keep that home run ball flying out of Wrigley against Wacha again today.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago Plus.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday (classic mode) (Note: Going forward, I am going to link to the “classic” Gameday here because MLB.com broke the links I used to use to get to their “new” Gameday. If you click on this link, you can then click on “New Gameday” at the bottom of the page to get to the updated version. Note that the “classic” Gameday won’t load until just before game time.)

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.