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Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals preview, Thursday 7/20, 7:05 CT

The Cubs open a four-game set against the visitors from St. Louis.

Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Thursday notes...

  • THE CODY FILES: Through June 21, Cody Bellinger’s batting average, in 43 games, was .252. Since then, in 21 games, his average is .436 (34 for 78, with three doubles and five homers), raising his season mark to .311. He has hit safely in 19 of the 21 games, making four hits once, three hits once and two hits 10 times. But can he keep it up tonight through Sunday? Bellinger’s career slash line against the Cardinals is just .199/.275/.316: 27 for 136, with four doubles, four homers and 34 strikeouts. All three slash numbers are his lowest against any team against which he has had more than 40 plate appearances. His second lowest is .218/.310/.359 vs. the Giants. His batting average is .158 vs. the Orioles (20 PA), .147 vs. the Twins (40) and .063 vs. the Tigers (19). (Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)
  • RUN DIFFERENTIAL UPDATE: The Cubs remain the only team in the N.L. Central with a positive run differential (+38). Others: Brewers -7, Reds -16, Cardinals -21, Pirates -72. In fact, only four N.L. teams have a better run differential than the Cubs: Braves +143, Dodgers +91, Padres +46, Giants +41.
  • STILL EN FUEGO: Cody Bellinger, last 17 games since June 29: .453/.493./734 (29-for-64) with three doubles, five home runs, six walks and 18 runs scored.
  • PERSONAL MIKE TAUCHMAN NOTE: I bought a Mike Tauchman London Series jersey from Cubs Authentics before Sunday’s game. Since then, Tauchman is 6-for-10 with two doubles, a home run, four walks and five runs scored. Cause-and-effect? Probably not, but... you never know!

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Cardinals lineup:

Marcus Stroman, RHP vs. Steven Matz, LHP

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

The last time Marcus Stroman faced the Cardinals, in London, it did not go well. He got victimized by a Trey Mancini misplay and then left the game with a blister.

Since the blister game, Stroman has one good start and two mediocre ones, with the results this month: 5.40 ERA, 1.140 WHIP. He has allowed just one home run in 16⅔ innings this month, so it’s not all bad.

In another start vs. St. Louis May 8 at Wrigley Field, Stroman allowed two runs in six innings. We’d take that tonight, I think.

Steven Matz had a 5.72 ERA in 10 starts when he was removed from the St. Louis rotation in late May. In eight relief outings after that he posted a 2.81 ERA and 1.125 WHIP, with no HR in 16 innings, so he was returned to the rotation July 9.

He’s made one good start and one bad one since then. He’s faced the Cubs once this year, 3⅓ innings of scoreless relief in garbage time in the first game in London June 24.


Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. You can find out if Marquee is available via a provider in your area here. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Cardinals market territories).

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday 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 2023 Game Thread procedure will be like last year’s, 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.