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Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals preview, Saturday 10/2, 6:15 CT

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The Cubs look to even up their series in St. Louis.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

There is a pretty good chance of rain in the St. Louis area this evening, which could interrupt or postpone tonight’s game. Here’s the local weather forecast and the local radar:

Saturday notes...

  • STRIKEOUT UPDATE: The Cubs’ K pace has slowed a bit since they broke the franchise record for batter strikeouts September 22 against the Twins. Entering tonight’s game they have 1,581 strikeouts this year, 14 short of the MLB record (1,595) set by the 2019 Tigers. So they’ll need to average seven K’s a game for the last two games of 2021 to match that mark. The Cubs lead MLB in batter strikeouts by 42 over the Marlins.
  • EVERYONE DIGS THE LONG BALL: The Cubs’ 208 home runs this season are the sixth-most in franchise history and just the seventh time the team has surpassed the 200-home run mark. Here are the top single-season Cubs home run totals: 256 in 2019, 235 in 2004, 223 in 2017, 212 in 1998 and 209 in 1987.
  • THE DUFFSTER: Matt Duffy is on an 11-game hitting streak in which he is batting .381/.447/.500 (16-for-42) with five doubles. If he can record a hit both Saturday and Sunday, he’ll match Frank Schwindel and Kris Bryant for the longest hitting streak by any Cubs player this year.
  • THE LEADOFF GUY: Rafael Ortega, last nine games: .433/.564/.600 (13-for-30) with two doubles, a home run and eight walks. In that span he has raised his season OPS from .787 to .830.
  • IT HAPP-ENED: Ian Happ, 42 games since August 13: .327/.395/.660 (50-for-153) with 10 doubles, a triple and 13 home runs. That’s MVP-level hitting.

Here are today’s particulars.

For the second time this week, we have no lineups — no Cubs lineup nor Cardinals lineup — at the usual posting time of this preview. two hours before game time. Please check the BCB Twitter feed for the lineups.

Adrian Sampson, RHP vs. Jon Lester, LHP

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor
USA TODAY NETWORK

This is a pitching rematch of the game last Saturday in Wrigley Field.

Adrian Sampson threw six strong innings, allowing three hits, no walks and two runs. The runs were solo homers by Harrison Bader and Tyler O’Neill, and Sampson has been susceptible to the HR this year — seven in 31⅓ innings. He has limited the damage from the long ball, though, as all but one of those homers came with no one on base.

Sampson is an intriguing possibility for the 2022 rotation.

In that game last week, the Cubs got eight hits, three walks and four runs (three earned) off Jon Lester, and were leading 4-2 when he left the game. The bullpen coughed up the lead.

Perhaps the Cubs can do this again off Lester tonight, only get better relief work.

Today, you have a choice for Cubs viewing.

The game is, as usual, on Marquee Sports Network. Here’s a list of providers currently carrying Marquee.

It’s also being carried on Fox-TV (regional — coverage map). A reminder that if you subscribe to MLB.TV or MLB Extra Innings, you can watch this game on those services if it’s not on the Fox affiliate in your market.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com 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 2021 Game Thread procedure will be a bit different than previous years. It will be similar to what we’ve used for Spring Training.

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, titled “Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of week/date) game threads.” It will contain every post related to that particular game, including the First Pitch Thread and the overflow thread, as well as the recap when it’s published. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post.

You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread and the overflow thread in the box marked “Chicago Cubs Game Threads” at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). The StoryStream for each game can also be found in that section.

The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at 90 minutes after the scheduled game time.

Discuss amongst yourselves.