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Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds Preview, Thursday 9/20, 1:20 CT

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David Banks - Getty Images

This afternoon's contest is the 150th game of a very long season. It is the sixth game of a 10-game homestand, the second such homestand since mid-August. After being swept in Washington to go to the low point of the year at 51-86, the Cubs won six of nine, but have now lost three in a row.

Two of the last three games have lasted past 11 p.m. The Cubs have lost all three.

All of this is to say, I'm really tired this morning. I don't have a lot to say other than this doesn't appear to be a game the Cubs can win. Try to enjoy the game anyway. After all, it's baseball.

Cubs lineup:

DeJesus CF, Barney 2B, Rizzo 1B, LaHair LF, Castro SS, Valbuena 3B, Castillo C, Sappelt RF, Berken P

Alfonso Soriano gets a well-deserved day off after reaching the 30-HR milestone. I'd like to see him play a lot the rest of the year -- he still has a chance to lead the NL in RBI, which would be quite an accomplishment playing for a team that has as few runs scored as the Cubs do.

Reds lineup:

Paul LF, Cairo 1B, Rodriguez 2B, Frazier 3B, Heisey RF, Phipps CF, Hanigan C, Gregorius SS, Cueto P

Wow, that's... weird. It's like a Reds split-squad spring-training lineup; almost all the regulars are sitting this one out.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Jason Berken
Jason Berken
Cubs
vs. Johnny Cueto
Johnny Cueto
Reds
0-1 W-L 17-9
4.50 ERA 2.92
2 SO 157
1 BB 44
1 HR 13
vs. Cin -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Jason Berken 0-1 1 1 0 0 0 0 4.0 8 6 2 1 1 2 4.50 2.25


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Johnny Cueto 17-9 30 30 2 0 0 0 197.0 189 68 64 13 44 157 2.92 1.18

Jason Berken has one career relief appearance against the Reds; it was June 24, 2011 in an interleague game. He gave up two hits, walked one and allowed a run. His first Cubs start was pretty mediocre: eight hits in four innings, six runs, two earned. Current Reds are 0-for-14 against him, but who knows what that means? In 10 years you'll think, "Jason who?"

Johnny Cueto has made three starts against the Cubs this year. The Reds have won all three and Cueto has allowed 11 hits in 22⅓ innings and struck out 18. Are you really expecting anything different today? (Hint: don't.)

Today's game is on CSN Chicago.

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 Reds site Red Reporter. The usual caution is advised.

Today's first pitch thread will post at 1:20 p.m. CDT and the overflows at 2:20, 3:20 and 4:05 p.m. CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section. Also please note: due to some under-the-hood changes, the sidebar box with the game thread links is no longer available. It seems you've found them with no problems, but if you haven't been able to find the overflow threads, click the "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" link under "Sections" on the left sidebar. They're all in there.

Discuss amongst yourselves.