Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals Preview, Sunday 9/25, 1:15 CT: Heading To The Finish Line

This about sums the season up, doesn't it? Geovany Soto of the Chicago Cubs walks off the field as the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate a walk off victory at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

The Cubs have four games remaining in the 2011 season. All of them will be played, as the game today against the Cardinals is still meaningful in the wild card race, and there are no expected weather issues for the games in San Diego.

That means that the team could wind up with a final record that they have never had in their history.

The Cubs are 70-88. They have finished three seasons in their history with 70 wins -- two of them in the pre-expansion era, and once in 1986 when two games were cancelled and they were 70-90. Thus they have never been 70-92.

The Cubs have won 71 games in a season three times -- twice before 1900, when the season was far shorter, and in 1983, the only 71-91 season in team history. The following year, they improved by 24½ games and won the NL East.

The Cubs have won 72 games in a season four times, but finished 72-90 just once: 1965, which was followed by the worst year in team history, a last-place 59-103 finish.

The Cubs have won 73 games in a season three times: 1915, 1982 and 1995, but only one of those (1982) was a 73-89 season.

And, the Cubs have won exactly 74 games three times, all before the expansion of the schedule to 162 games: 1917, 1943 and 1959. They have never finished 74-88. Personally, I'd like to see them finish with a four-game winning streak and have that as their final record. At least it would make something about this season unique. Plus, winning today could help knock the Cardinals out of the wild card race.

Cubs lineup:

Castro SS, Barney 2B, LaHair RF, Pena 1B, Soriano LF, DeWitt 3B, Byrd CF, Soto C, Wells P

Cardinals lineup:

Furcal ss, Jay cf, Pujols 1b, Berkman rf, Holliday lf, Freese 3b; Molina c, Schumaker 2b, Jackson, p
Today's Starting Pitchers
Randy Wells
Randy Wells
Cubs
vs. Edwin Jackson
Edwin Jackson
Cardinals
7-5 W-L 12-9
5.09 ERA 3.85
80 SO 146
44 BB 59
21 HR 16
vs. Hou -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Randy Wells 7-5 22 22 1 1 0 0 127.1 135 73 72 21 44 80 5.09 1.41


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Edwin Jackson 5-2 11 11 0 0 0 0 70.0 84 35 29 8 20 49 3.73 1.49

Edwin Jackson's numbers in the line above are with the Cardinals only. His full-season numbers are in the pitcher box above that.

Randy Wells made a pretty decent start against the Cardinals on August 19 at Wrigley Field, allowing just four hits. Unfortunately, two of them were home runs (by Yadier Molina and David Freese). If Wells can keep away from the long ball today, he might be able to finish his season strong. If he allows two runs or fewer in more than six innings, he'll complete the year with an ERA under 5.00. (Gotta have a goal, right?)

Edwin Jackson has made three starts vs. the Cubs this year, one while with the White Sox, two after his trade to St. Louis. All three were credible; he has posted a 3.60 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in the three starts, while allowing just two home runs (both hit by Aramis Ramirez, but then Aramis says he won't be able to play until Tuesday). Apart from Ramirez, Marlon Byrd and Alfonso Soriano have homered off Jackson.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago and FSN Midwest. 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 Cardinals site Viva El Birdos.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 1:15 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm and 4 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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