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

The Cubs go for their fifth consecutive win.

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Friday notes:

  • The Cubs are 30-16 since May 27, tied with the Dodgers for the best record in the N.L. since that date.
  • Since 2015, the Cubs have put together a 150-73 record in the “second half” (including Thursday night’s win), and the team’s .673 win percentage is by far the best in the baseball. Cleveland is second with a .615 (136-85) in the “second half” since the start of 2015.
  • The 13 hits the Cubs had Thursday night give them double digits in hits in 13 of their last 18 games.
  • The Cubs’ 29-15 (.659) record at home is the best home record in the National League.
  • The Cubs’ +118 run differential is the best in the National League — by 35. The Dodgers are next best at +82.
  • Walk watch: The Cubs have drawn 367 walks, second in the N.L. to the Reds (376). That’s 3.9 walks per game, a pace for 632, which would be third-best in franchise history.

Also, there’s a pretty good chance of rain today, so you’ll want to keep this handy:

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Cardinals lineup:

Jon Lester, LHP vs. Jack Flaherty, RHP

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

Although some of his peripherals suggest otherwise, Jon Lester is having a fine season, and overall the Cubs have gone 16-3 in his 19 starts, which is really all you can ask from a starting pitcher these days.

In three starts against the Cardinals this year, he’s posted a 2.08 ERA and 1.096 WHIP, and he has a 1.98 ERA and 1.226 WHIP in nine starts at Wrigley Field in 2018, with only three home runs allowed in 54⅓ innings. That should bode well for this afternoon.

Jack Flaherty, just 22 years old, has made 14 starts for the Cardinals this year and been generally pretty effective. One of those starts was against the Cubs, June 17 in St. Louis, where he threw five shutout innings, allowing just two singles and three walks. That and a one-inning relief appearance last September are his only career appearances against the Cubs.

His last four starts, though, have not been quite as good: 5.27 ERA, 1.442 WHIP, though he is coming off an outing of five shutout innings against the Reds.

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

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday 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.