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Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals preview, Saturday 5/22, 6:15 CT

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The Cubs go for two straight over the Cards.

Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

News item:

Saturday notes...

  • HOT STREAK: The Cubs are 13-7 in their last 20 games dating to April 29 in Atlanta and have outscored their opponents 111-77 (+34), in this 20-game stretch to help the club to a plus-16 run differential this season (210-194). The 13-7 mark is tied with the Cardinals for second-best in the NL over that span, second to the Padres (14-5).
  • THAT FIRST PITCH: Joc Pederson last night belted his first leadoff homer of the season and the 22nd of his career (first since August 3, 2020 at San Diego while with the Dodgers).
  • IMPROVED PITCHING: Cubs pitching in May has produced a 3.05 ERA (55 earned runs in 162⅓ innings), the fifth-lowest ERA in the majors behind the Padres (2.28), White Sox (2.76), Rays (2.87) and Dodgers (2.87). Cubs starters this month have a 3.82 ERA (39 earned runs in 92 innings) and Cubs relievers have produced a 2.05 ERA (16 earned runs in 70⅓ innings).
  • SINCE THAT 5-8 START: Dating to April 17, Cubs hitters lead the majors with 5.68 runs per game in 31 games (176 runs scored), a .348 on-base percentage, a .452 slugging mark, an .800 OPS and reaching base safely 416 times. The Cubs are 18-13 over that span, a .581 winning percentage that would equate to a 94-win full-season record.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Cardinals lineup:

Adbert Alzolay, RHP vs. Miles Mikolas, RHP

USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY NETWORK

Adbert Alzolay seems so, so close to a breakthrough that would make him one of the better pitchers in the league. He’s vastly improved his walk rate — it’s just 1.7 per nine innings — and every time he goes to the mound I think, “THIS is the game he’s going to dominate.”

Perhaps tonight will be that game.

Adbert faced the Cardinals twice last year. One of those starts was really good, the other not so much. Both, incidentally, were in seven-inning games as part of doubleheaders, so the approach might be different tonight. Adbert’s season high for pitches is 94, done twice. Perhaps he can go a bit farther in this game.

Miles Mikolas has not pitched in a MLB game since 2019. He missed all of 2020 after having flexor tendon surgery, then hurt his shoulder in his first bullpen session of 2021.

He made three Triple-A rehab starts this year before being activated, posting a 3.65 ERA and striking out 11 in 12⅓ innings.

Current Cubs are hitting .276 (29-for-105) against Mikolas with two home runs, both by Javier Báez.

Today’s game is on Fox-TV (regional — coverage map). A reminder that if you subscribe to MLB.TV or MLB Extra Innings, you can watch via those services if the game is not on the Fox-TV affiliate in your market. Fox announcers: Joe Buck, John Smoltz and Ken Rosenthal.

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.