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Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals preview, Friday 7/9, 1:20 CT

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Welcome to the battle for... third place in the NL Central.

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Today's roster move: Here

Friday notes...

  • THE CLOSE ONES: The Cubs are 13-16 in 29 one-run games this season, tied for the second-most one-run contests in baseball with tonight’s opponent, the Phillies. The Mets lead with 32 such games.
  • LONG BALL NOTES: The Cubs are the only NL team with six players hitting at least 10 homers this season. Javier Báez has hit 21 homers, followed by Kris Bryant (16), Willson Contreras (13), Joc Pederson (11), Patrick Wisdom (11) and Anthony Rizzo (10).
  • KB IS EVERYWHERE: Kris Bryant has seen time at third base (26 games, 23 starts) this season, but has also played left field (22 games, 14 starts), right field (23 games, 20 starts), center field (14 games, 10 starts) and first base (12 games, 10 starts).
  • LOTS AND LOTS OF PITCHERS: Not counting the three position players (Matt Duffy, Anthony Rizzo, Eric Sogard) who have pitched for the Cubs this year, the team has used 26 different pitchers to this point in the 2021 season. The franchise record (pitchers used, excluding position players) is 31, set in 2013, tied in 2018.

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.

Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. Wade LeBlanc, LHP

USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY NETWORK

Kyle Hendricks is on a Professor-like roll. Since the end of April: 12 starts, 2.72 ERA, 1.092 WHIP, only 11 walks in 76 innings.

Two of those 12 starts have been against the Cardinals: 12⅔ innings, three earned runs, just two walks. In fact, Kyle has a career 2.78 ERA in 22 starts against the Cardinals, his best against any team he’s faced more than nine times. Current Cardinals are hitting .222 (57-for-257) against him. Hopefully, this success continues.

Wade LeBlanc has been around. How far around? Look at his transaction log just from this year:

Just think of the frequent-flyer miles.

Anyway, LeBlanc has made six appearances (two starts) for the Cardinals with modest success (2.16 ERA, but 5.69 FIP). He hasn’t faced the Cubs since 2019, when he was with the Mariners, and hasn’t started a game vs. the Cubs since 2013, when he was a Marlin.

A few Cubs have had success against him:

Jason Heyward: 5-for-14 (.357), one home run
Jake Marisnick: 5-for-14 (.357), one home run
Anthony Rizzo: 5-for-6 (.833), three home runs

Small sample sizes, to be sure, but perhaps this will be a good day for Cubs hitters.

Statcast
Statcast

Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. Here’s a list of providers currently carrying Marquee. 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

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.