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Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals preview, Thursday 8/1, 6:15 CT

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The Cubs go for the series win.

Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

We’ve had a lot of discussion here at BCB today about Nicholas Castellanos, but I wanted to also call your attention to Tony Kemp, who was on the active roster Wednesday but didn’t play.

Here’s an article by William Metzger, manager of our SB Nation Astros site The Crawfish Boxes, about Kemp and what he meant to their team. Here’s an excerpt, but the entire article is worth reading:

The Astros still look like a bunch of boys playing in the Little League World Series, except they are big boys now. (well except for a few). And no one has contributed more to that spirit of pure joy, exuberance, and child-like enthusiasm than Tony Kemp.

I will not include yet another hugs for homer gif, we’ve seen enough by now. Just let me conclude by saying that whoever ends up with Tony Kemp is getting someone very special. His spirit of great goodness has touched me and millions of others in Houston and beyond. He will be missed by the Astros, I sense more by the players than even by his adoring fans, and let us hope he doesn’t end up pulling off one of those clutch hits against his former teammates in the playoffs.

This isn’t the sort of statistical analysis that you might have expected, though there’s some of that in the article as well, again, worth your time. I just want to add: These kinds of things matter, whether you care to believe that or not. Players respond well to teammates like that, and I sense Kemp could become a fan favorite in Chicago with just a few good contributions. Here’s hoping Tony Kemp has a positive impact on the Chicago Cubs, on and off the field.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Both new Cubs position players are in the starting lineup tonight.

Cardinals lineup:

Jon Lester, LHP vs. Jack Flaherty, RHP

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Lester posted a 2.77 ERA and 1.385 WHIP in July and was outstanding in his last outing, seven shutout innings vs. the Brewers last Friday in Milwaukee. Also, that means Jon is throwing on five days’ rest, perhaps better for him.

He has faced the Cardinals once this year, June 8 at Wrigley Field, and allowed four runs in six innings. That line doesn’t tell the whole story of that start, though — he gave up the four runs in the first inning, all of them scoring among the Cardinals’ first six batters, and then he gave up nothing but a couple of singles the rest of the way.

Current Cardinals are hitting .286 (47-for-164) against Jon, but the guy to really watch out for is Paul Goldschmidt (7-for-14).

Jack Flaherty has been very good over his last four starts: 1.48 ERA, 0.863 WHIP, .193 opponents BA. But against the Cubs this year, he has struggled: three starts, 5.65 ERA, 1.395 WHIP, four home runs in 14⅓ innings. Flaherty was Lester’s opponent June 8 and allowed four runs in 3⅔ innings, including a home run to Kyle Schwarber.

One thing that could be in the Cubs’ favor tonight — the starting time. Flaherty is much worse in night games this year (14 starts, 5.33 ERA, 18 HR in 74⅓ innings) than day games (seven starts, 2.03 ERA, three HR in 40 innings).

Nicholas Castellanos vs. Jack Flaherty: 0-for-2, one walk. Tony Kemp vs. Jack Flaherty: never faced him.

Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago.

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 2019 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used in previous years. 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.