Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals Preview, Saturday 9/24, 12:10 CT: Beat 'Em Again Anyway

Darwin Barney of the Chicago Cubs dives for a ground ball against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

The Cubs actually have a rare opportunity this weekend; as I noted in the recap of last night's game, they have a chance to eliminate the Cardinals from both the division race (which they did on Friday night) and the wild card race. St. Louis' elimination number is three; if the Cubs can win twice and the Braves once the remainder of the weekend (or one Cubs win and two Braves wins), the Cardinals will be home for October.

I don't usually revel in other teams' miseries, but in a mostly awful Cubs season, that would indeed be sweet. Go for it, Cubs, and finish the season on a high note. Also, two Cubs wins would clinch a winning month of September. Three more wins in the remaining five games would avoid a 90-loss season; and they are also in a race to finish fourth, currently tied with the Pirates at 70-87.

We'll take small victories when we can get them, and hope for change to come after the new general manager is hired.

Cubs lineup:

Castro ss, Barney 2b, LaHair rf, Pena 1b, Soriano lf, DeWitt 3b, Byrd cf, Soto c, Lopez p

Cardinals lineup:

Furcal ss, Jay cf, Pujols 1b, Berkman rf, Holliday lf, Freese 3b, Molina c, Schumaker 2b, Lohse p
Today's Starting Pitchers
Rodrigo Lopez
Rodrigo Lopez
vs. Kyle Lohse
Kyle Lohse
6-6 W-L 14-8
4.71 ERA 3.47
53 SO 103
27 BB 42
18 HR 16
vs. Hou -- vs. Cubs

2011 - Rodrigo Lopez 6-6 25 15 0 0 0 0 91.2 112 56 48 18 27 53 4.71 1.52

2011 - Kyle Lohse 14-8 34 29 1 1 0 0 181.1 172 79 70 16 42 103 3.47 1.18

Mike Quade had a choice today. He could have started Casey Coleman; it should have been Coleman's turn in the rotation. Admittedly, Coleman has made one start against the Cardinals this year and it was not very good. So he chose Rodrigo Lopez. Lopez has been horrific against St. Louis this year; in four appearances (two starts) he has a 10.13 ERA and 2.25 WHIP, 19 hits and five walks in 10.2 innings and SIX home runs, including two by Albert Pujols (one of them a walkoff). He's been even worse in Busch Stadium: 11.81 ERA in 5.1 innings over three games (one start).

Now why would you do that? We already know that Lopez is bad against the Cardinals. He's not part of this team's future. Casey Coleman might be. If Coleman is ever going to be good against contending teams... he's got to start against them, especially since his last start against the Brewers was pretty good.

But no. "Respect the veterans." Start a pitcher who has been mostly bad for a decade. This is just one more reason I'm glad that Quade's Cubs managing career has just five games to go.

Kyle Lohse has made two starts against the Cubs this year and posted a 3.38 ERA. The last of those two starts was a matchup against Lopez on July 30 in St. Louis. Don't click on that link. Trust me, you don't want to be reminded of that game. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Today's game is on WGN and FSN Midwest. Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Cardinals site Viva El Birdos.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 12:10 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 1:15 pm, 2:15 pm and 3 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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