Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds Preview, Monday 9/12, 6:10 CT: You Again?

Didn't we just do this? See the Reds for a series? Thanks to MLB's schedulers, the Cubs are going through a stretch where they face the Reds for seven out of ten games. By the time Thursday rolls around, they are going to likely be good and sick of each other.

The Reds lead the season series 8-6, so the Cubs would have to sweep this set (unlikely) to win the season series. A 3-1 series win would give the Cubs a season split with Cincinnati, which would be nice.

Also, the Cubs open today just two games behind the Pirates for fourth place. The two teams do not meet again, but since Aug. 1 the Cubs are 21-17, while the Pirates are 10-28. Further, the Pirates just got swept by the Marlins at home and now must face the hot Cardinals. I know, I know: some of you want the Cubs to get a higher draft pick next year. Without even knowing who will be better than others in that draft, which is nine months away, I want the Cubs to finish strong this year. (No, I don't think that will save Mike Quade's job, either, so don't worry too much about that.)

And speaking of schedules, the 2012 MLB schedule is expected to be released sometime this week. The Cubs have announced that they will pass out tentative schedules during this year's final homestand starting Friday. If nothing else, it's something to look forward to.

Cubs lineup:

Castro ss, Johnson rf, Ramirez 3b, Baker 1b, Soriano lf, Byrd cf, Soto c, Barney 2b, Lopez p

I have a feeling a lot of you aren't going to like that lineup much.

Reds lineup:

Phillips 2B, Sappelt CF, Votto 1B, Bruce RF, Alonso LF, Mesoraco C, Francisco 3B, Janish SS, Willis P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Rodrigo Lopez
Rodrigo Lopez
vs. Dontrelle Willis
Dontrelle Willis
4-6 W-L 0-5
4.82 ERA 4.21
42 SO 51
24 BB 32
14 HR 5
vs. Cin -- vs. Cubs

2011 - Rodrigo Lopez 4-6 23 13 0 0 0 0 80.1 99 50 43 14 24 42 4.82 1.53

2011 - Dontrelle Willis 0-5 13 11 0 0 0 0 66.1 66 31 31 5 32 51 4.21 1.48

Rodrigo Lopez. My favorite. Sigh. Lopez started last Tuesday against the Reds at Wrigley Field. He came up one out short of a quality start, and the Cubs nearly lost in regulation until Bryan LaHair homered in the ninth; the Cubs eventually lost in the 13th inning. Lopez gave up two runs on eight hits, which included three doubles. He didn't pitch that badly, but he didn't pitch that well, either. What can you do?

Dontrelle Willis started against the Cubs a week ago today at Wrigley Field. Like Lopez, he didn't pitch either great or poorly. It's kind of like he was just... there. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Willis is his hitting; he's 10-for-29 this year (.385) with a .654 SLG (two doubles, a triple, a home run). Maybe they should think about doing the "Rick Ankiel" with him.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago and FSN Ohio. Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Reds site Red Reporter.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 6:10 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 7 pm, 8 pm and 8:45 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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