Cubs

Preview: Cubs-Cardinals tonight on CSN, streaming on CSNChicago.com

Preview: Cubs-Cardinals tonight on CSN, streaming on CSNChicago.com

The Cubs open their series against the St. Louis Cardinals tonight, and you can catch all the action on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports app.

Coverage begins at 7:00 p.m., followed by first pitch. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis on Cubs Postgame Live.

Tonight's starting pitching matchup: Eddie Butler (1-0, 1.17 in five starts in Triple-A Iowa) vs. Mike Leake (4-1, 1.79 ERA)

Butler is making his first big-league start with the Cubs after being acquired Feb. 1 from the Colorado Rockies in exhange for minor-league pitcher James Farris.

The 26-year-old Butler is not far removed from serving as one of baseball's top pitching prospect, coming in at No. 35 on MLB's list in 2015 and No. 24 on Baseball America's rankings in 2014.

Butler has made 28 starts and eight relief appearances in the big leagues with the Rockies over the last three seasons, posting a 6-16 record with a 6.50 ERA and 1.77 WHIP. He is filling in for the injured Brett Anderson, who sported an 8.18 ERA in his six starts in the rotation before heading on the disabled list with a lower back strain.

The Cubs are also still without Addison Russell, who is nursing a sore throwing shoulder. Javy Baez will man shortstop in Russell's stead. 

Here's the rest of the Cubs lineup behind Butler against Mike Leake and the first-place Cardinals:

1. Kyle Schwarber - LF
2. Kris Bryant - RF
3. Anthony Rizzo - 1B
4. Ben Zobrist - 2B
5. Jeimer Candelario - 3B
6. Willson Contreras - C
7. Javy Baez - SS
8. Eddie Butler - P
9. Albert Almora Jr. - CF

Former Cubs leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler is back in the lineup Friday night for the first time in a week while dealing with a shoulder injury. Fowler hit a pinch-hit two-run triple Wednesday as the Cardinals extended their winning streak to six games.

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Cubs Talk Podcast: An ode to Joe Maddon and looking to the next era

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USA Today

Cubs Talk Podcast: An ode to Joe Maddon and looking to the next era

On the latest Cubs Talk Podcast, Tony Andracki, Kelly Crull, Scott Changnon and Jeff Nelson give us their memories of Joe Maddon's time with the Cubs and discuss David Ross and Joe Espada's candidacy to be the next manager.

01:30 Kelly's memories of Joe from the perspective of a reporter

06:00 Going back to Hazleton with Joe

07:45 Joe's legacy as manager of the Cubs

16:00 How Joe impacted Javy Baez' career

18:00 David Ross and Joe Espada may be the leaders to replace Joe Maddon.

Listen here or via the embedded player below:

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Cubs reportedly ‘exceptionally impressed’ by Joe Espada in managerial search

Cubs reportedly ‘exceptionally impressed’ by Joe Espada in managerial search

As the Cubs peruse over their list of managerial candidates, one name reportedly made a strong impression following his interview with the team.

According to NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan, Astros bench coach Joe Espada left the Cubs front office “exceptionally impressed” following his interview on Monday.

Espada, 44, has spent the last two seasons as Astros bench coach following three seasons as Yankees third base coach. He is one of MLB’s more sought after managerial candidates this winter and one of three known external candidates for the Cubs’ opening, along with Joe Girardi and Gabe Kapler.

Former Cubs catcher and current front office assistant David Ross has been the presumed front runner for the Cubs' opening. But based on Kaplan’s report, Espada clearly has given Epstein and Co. something to think about, which makes sense, considering Espada is coming from an innovative Astros organization.

Epstein said at his end-of-season press conference that there’s no timeline for the Cubs’ managerial search. However, MLB prefers teams to not make big announcements during the World Series, which kicks off on Oct. 22. Thus, the Cubs may not make an announcement for little while longer, though this is purely speculation.

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