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Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals preview, Saturday 6/16, 7:15 CT

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The Cubs go for two straight over the Cardinals.

Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Saturday notes:

  • Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks enters tonight’s game with a 4-6 record despite a 3.48 ERA. He is the only qualifying pitcher in the National League with a sub-.500 record despite an ERA below 3.50. Hendricks ranks eighth in the National League with a 1.094 WHIP.
  • Anthony Rizzo has batted .301 (43-for-143) with nine doubles, 10 homers, 37 RBI, a .390 OBP, a .573 SLG and a .963 OPS in his last 39 games since May 1 after starting the season with a .149 average and a .448 OPS in his first 18 contests through April 30.
  • The Cubs lead the National League and and tied for third (with the Yankees) in the majors with a run differential of +97, trailing only the Astros (+146) and Red Sox (+103). Also, the Cubs’ 331 runs scored are second in the N.L. (Braves, 339, in three more games than the Cubs), while their 234 runs allowed are second-fewest in the majors behind the Astros (220).
  • Rizzo has 176 home runs as a Cub, already 13th-most in franchise history, in his seventh season with the club. Among Cubs lefthanded hitters, only Billy Williams (392) and Bill Nicholson (205) have more homers than Rizzo.
  • Addison Russell ranks second among N.L. shortstops (min. 120 AB) with a .325 batting average (41-for-126) and .386 OBP since April 26, trailing only San Francisco’s Brandon Crawford (.377 AVG, .428 OBP). Who needs Manny Machado?
  • The Cubs are the only team in the majors to have five pitchers with at least 10 innings pitched and an ERA under 2.00: Randy Rosario (0.71), Brandon Morrow (1.66), Justin Hancock (1.74), Steve Cishek (1.86) and Pedro Strop (1.95).

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Cardinals lineup:

Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. Carlos Martinez, RHP

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

This has to be one of the biggest mismatches of the year, at least in terms of fastball velocity. Kyle Hendricks’ average fastball, per Fangraphs, in 2018 is 87.1 miles per hour. Carlos Martinez is at 94.7, and that’s actually down about 1.5 miles per hour from his numbers last year.

Despite that, Martinez is having a pretty good year, despite missing several starts with a lat injury. Or, he was before the injury, anyway. He’s made two starts since his return and hasn’t got past the fourth inning in either of them. His last outing was a 3⅔-inning, 96-pitch, seven-walk mess against the Reds.

Let’s hope he’s up for another one of those. He hasn’t faced the Cubs this year.

Kyle Hendricks is having a decent year, but...

The “but” is that he has a really good outing, followed by one (or more) mediocre ones. He threw only five innings in each of his last three starts, and those followed a really good seven-inning outing against the Giants May 25.

So I dunno. You all know how much I like Kyle’s pitching style, and if he locates well he can get just about anybody out.

Like Martinez, Hendricks has not faced tonight’s opponent this year. Kyle’s ERA is about half a run lower in night games, so there’s that.

Today’s game is on Fox-TV (regional — coverage map). Reminder that if you have a MLB.tv or MLB Extra Innings subscription and this game is not on the Fox station in your market, you can still watch via those services. Fox announcers: Joe Davis and John Smoltz.

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 2018 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2017. 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.