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Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals Game 1 preview, Friday 9/24, 1:20 CT

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The Cubs begin a four-game set with their division rivals.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Today's roster move: Here

Friday notes...

  • SITE NOTE: Here’s how the game threads will work today, a bit different than usual. For the first game, the procedure is as outlined below — game preview, first pitch thread, overflow thread. There will not be a separate recap of Game 1 (unless something extremely unusual or historic occurs). A preview of Game 2 will post at 5:30 p.m. CT (or a bit later if Game 1 runs long) — it will just have pitcher info, lineups and the other usual pregame links. A recap of both games will post here tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. CT. All the threads for BOTH games will reside in a single StoryStream on the front page.
  • STRIKEOUT UPDATE: As noted in the recap to Wednesday’s game, the Cubs have established a new franchise record for batter strikeouts, which now stands at 1,520. They need to strike out 76 times over the 10 remaining games to break the MLB record (1,595, set by the 2019 Tigers). The post-selloff Cubs (i.e., basically the current roster) are averaging 10.96 strikeouts per game. If they keep up that average they will break that record either next Thursday in Pittsburgh, or next Friday in St. Louis.
  • SCHWINDY CITY UPDATE: Frank Schwindel is on an 11-game hitting streak in which he is hitting .388/.423/.694 (19-for-49) with six doubles and three home runs. In those 11 games he’s had seven multi-hit games. The streak is the second-longest for a Cub this year. Longest: 13 games by Kris Bryant, May 17-31.
  • MORE FRANK THE TANK: Schwindel’s .363 BA with the Cubs in 193 PA is the fourth-highest (since 1900) for any Cub with that many PA. Higher: Riggs Stephenson, .367 (382 PA in 1930), Heinie Zimmerman, .372 (612 PA in 1912) and Rogers Hornsby, .380 (712 PA in 1929). And his 1.080 OPS is also fourth-highest (since 1900) for any Cub with that many PA. Higher: Hornsby, 1.139 in 1929, Sammy Sosa, 1.174 (711 PA in 2001) and Hack Wilson, 1.178 (709 PA in 1930). Obviously, all those players had many more PA than Schwindel, but again, no one else has had those numbers with even as many as 193 PA.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Cardinals lineup:

Also of interest for this series:

Justin Steele, LHP vs. J.A. Happ, LHP

USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY NETWORK

Justin Steele has been up and down as a starter this year, overall he has a 5.12 ERA and 1.547 WHIP in seven starts, though I think he’s pitched somewhat better than those numbers would indicate.

He has never faced the Cardinals or anyone on their active roster. Perhaps that will be to his advantage this afternoon.

Statcast

J.A. Happ was pretty awful for the Twins this year (6.77 ERA, 1.479 WHIP in 19 starts) but the Cardinals traded for him anyway, sending John Gant, a prospect and cash to Minnesota July 30.

He’s been somewhat less bad in St. Louis (4.33 ERA, 1.237 WHIP in nine starts).

He hasn’t faced the Cubs since 2017 when he was with the Blue Jays, so that’s largely irrelevant. Matt Duffy is 6-for-16 against him with a home run.

In case you were wondering: Ian Happ is 0-for-3 lifetime vs. J.A. Happ. All three of those at-bats happened August 18, 2017 at Wrigley Field, and all three were strikeouts.

J.A. Happ, now 38, has been around a long time. Among his teammates his rookie year with the Phillies (2007) was Jamie Moyer.

Statcast

Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. Here’s a list of providers currently carrying Marquee. It’s also on ESPN (outside the Cubs and Cardinals market territories). ESPN announcers: Kevin Connors and Xavier Scruggs.

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.