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Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals preview, Sunday 7/29, 7:05 CT

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The Cubs hope to leave St. Louis with a win.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday night notes:

  • The Cubs still lead the National League in runs, but have been held to two runs or fewer in five of their last six games. (The 7-6 walkoff over the Diamondbacks is the exception.)
  • The Cubs are off Monday. They will have three off days in the subsequent three weeks or so: August 9, 13 and 20. After that they will play 23 games in 23 days from August 21 through September 12.
  • Jesse Chavez (three innings), Steve Cishek (one inning) and Cory Mazzoni (one inning) combined for five shutout innings in Saturday’s game. That’s the sixth time this season the Cubs bullpen has gone five or more innings without giving up a run. Over the last seven games, Cubs relievers have posted a 1.33 ERA (4 ER/27 IP) and a .196 opponent average (18-for-92).
  • Chavez has thrown eight innings in five games for the Cubs and has a 0.00 ERA and 0.625 WHIP (four hits and one walk allowed, with nine strikeouts).
  • Anthony Rizzo since moving to the leadoff spot July 13: .431/.524/.686 (22-for-51) with five doubles, a triple, two home runs and nine walks.

Oh, and there’s a forecast of possible showers and thunderstorms tonight in St. Louis, so you will need to keep this handy:

This is the last game the Cubs play in St. Louis this year. The Cubs are off Monday but the Cardinals are not... so figure they’ll wait a very long time to get this one in.

Also, at the time of this preview the Giants are leading the Brewers 8-3 after five innings. If that holds up, the Cubs could increase their N.L. Central lead to 1½ games with a win tonight.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Cardinals lineup:

Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. John Gant, RHP

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

Kyle Hendricks faced the Cardinals July 19 at Wrigley Field and... the results weren’t good. Nine hits and three runs in 4⅔ innings, with 113 pitches thrown. That’s simply not optimal. His start after that, last Tuesday against the Diamondbacks, wasn’t great either: seven hits, three runs in five innings, all three runs coming in the fifth. He did strike out eight in that appearance.

Kyle has simply been struggling. I don’t know that anyone has the answer, certainly nothing new pitching coach Jim Hickey has done has helped.

But we know Kyle has succeeded for several years despite not having the 95-plus velocity of some big-league starters. He can do it again. Lifetime vs. the Cardinals: 3.58 ERA, 1.194 WHIP in 12 starts.

John Gant’s last start was eight days ago, July 21 at Wrigley Field in the second game of the doubleheader. He threw five shutout innings and allowed four hits and three walks.

He threw an inning of relief four days ago against the Reds and allowed two runs, those coming on a two-run homer by Tucker Barnhart.

Whether the short rest after that one-inning appearance will affect him remains to be seen.

Today’s game is on ESPN.

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.