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Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals preview, Friday 9/20, 1:20 CT

The Cubs look to even up the series against the Cardinals.

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Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Notes for Friday:

  • The crowd of 39,524 Thursday brought the season announced attendance total to 2,977,082, so the Cubs will pass the three million mark at Wrigley Field Friday. With expected sellouts the next three days, total attendance for the season should finish around 3.1 million, about 80,000 fewer than 2018.
  • Despite the loss Thursday, the Cubs went 22-11 (.667) in Wrigley Field night contests this season, and are 404-346 (.539) all-time in regular season night games at Wrigley since lights were installed during the 1988 season.
  • Anthony Rizzo, last four games: .545/.643/1.091 (6-for-11) with two home runs and seven RBI.
  • Nicholas Castellanos, last seven games: .357/.428/.714 (10-for-28) with seven doubles, a home run, eight RBI and 10 runs scored.
  • Ben Zobrist, last six games: .400/.478/.650 (8-for-20) with two doubles and a home run.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

The Cardinals lineup was not available at posting time. Please check the BCB Twitter feed for the Cardinals lineup.

Alec Mills, RHP vs. Michael Wacha, RHP

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

This was supposed to be Jose Quintana’s start. But when Cole Hamels was scratched from Saturday due to a shoulder issue, Q was moved to Saturday, and Alec Mills was slotted into this start.

This is the sort of thing that sometimes works. Mills has been pretty good this year in three separate callups from Triple-A Iowa, two outings in July, two in August, three in September, and his September numbers are quite good (small sample size alert): three appearances, six innings, 1.50 ERA, 0.667 WHIP, no walks, nine strikeouts.

He made two relief appearances against the Cardinals last year. One was good, the other not so much. Current Cardinals are an extremely small sample size 0-for-9 against him with four strikeouts.

You know how Cubs hitters sometimes do against guys they have never seen before, or haven’t seen much. Perhaps this will work in the Cubs’ favor this afternoon.

Michael Wacha was having such a bad year that he was briefly removed from the Cardinals rotation. Since he returned there for good at the beginning of August the results have been somewhat better: 3.82 ERA, 1.330 WHIP in eight starts. On the other hand, he has thrown more than five innings in only one of those starts, and has been yanked fairly early in all of his September outings.

He has made one start against the Cubs this year, May 4 at Wrigley Field, and was best known that day for giving up Taylor Davis’ grand slam. Wacha has a lifetime ERA of 6.11 in nine appearances (eight starts) at Wrigley, with nine home runs allowed.

Today’s game is on ABC7 Chicago. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Cardinals market territories).

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.