Cubs vs. Padres Preview, Monday 9/27, 9:05 CT: The NL West Race Beckons Again

Write your own caption.

Last week, the Cubs did the Padres a favor by losing two of three to the Giants at Wrigley Field.

This week, the Cubs could return that favor -- or help out the Giants again by defeating San Diego. If they do, maybe the Giants could give the Cubs a cut of their playoff revenue?

Yes, that's a joke. The Giants are 88-68 and lead the 87-68 Padres by half a game. In turn, the Padres currently lead the wild card by half a game over the 87-69 Braves. While the Cubs are in San Diego for four, the Giants are off today, then play three vs. the Diamondbacks at home. The Giants and Padres play each other to end the season next weekend, in San Francisco. Meanwhile, the Braves have three against the Marlins at home, then three vs. the Phillies at home. There has never been a three-way tie for a postseason berth (or two, in this case) in MLB history. If the Giants, Braves and Padres all finish with identical records, the Giants and Padres would play one game for the NL West title; the loser would then play the Braves for the wild card.

In a year that's been so disappointing for the Cubs, being part of critical games -- even for another team -- at the end of the season, makes them more interesting. I'd love to see the three-way tie. Let's go ... tie!

Tonight's lineup via tweet from Carrie:

#Cubs lineup vs #Padres Mon night: RF Fuke, SS Castro, CF Byrd, 3B Ramy, 1B Nady, LF Sori, 2B DeWitt, C Hill, P Zambrano
Today's Starting Pitchers
Carlos Zambrano
Carlos Zambrano
Cubs
vs. Brandon Backe
Tim Stauffer
Padres
9-6 W-L 5-4
3.56 ERA 1.95
107 SO 52
62 BB 20
7 HR 2
vs. SD -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Carlos Zambrano 9-6 40 18 0 0 0 0 116.1 113 52 46 7 62 107 3.56 1.50


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Tim Stauffer 5-4 30 5 0 0 0 0 69.1 57 16 15 2 20 52 1.95 1.11

Tim Stauffer has made one career start (in 2005, so largely irrelevant) and one relief appearance (a scoreless inning on August 18 at Wrigley Field) against the Cubs. Aramis Ramirez is 1-for-3 against him. He's pitched pretty well (2.57 ERA in 21 innings over four starts) for the Padres since joining the rotation in September.

Carlos Zambrano had a very good outing against the Padres on August 19 at Wrigley Field, allowing only one run in six innings. Sean Marshall had his worst outing of the year and the Cubs lost the game. Z is still walking too many hitters, but would love to finish the year by helping knock the Padres out of the race. Ryan Ludwick is the Padre who hits him best (7-for-16, .438, two HR).

Today's game is on WGN and 4 San Diego. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Padres site Gaslamp Ball. But be careful over there.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 9 pm CDT and the overflows will post at 10 pm, 11 pm and 11:45 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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