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Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals Preview, Saturday 9/22, 12:05 CT

The Cubs will try for their second straight win over the Cardinals Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

David Banks-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Sunday will be the last game of 2012 that the Cubs will play against a postseason contender (unless, somehow, the Diamondbacks go on a run and are still in contention next Friday, as noted below). Thus, Dale Sveum says he's going to rest a lot of the regulars except for Darwin Barney:

"No doubt about it," Sveum said. "We’ll start giving other guys playing time and evaluate a little against Colorado. We’ll see where Arizona is [in the National League wild-card picture], but we’ll change it up a little."

I would like to see Alfonso Soriano play almost every remaining game. He enters Saturday's action just two RBI behind Chase Headley and Ryan Braun for the NL lead. In a season where the Cubs have little to celebrate, it would be great to have a Cub lead the league in a significant offensive category, especially since this team has had such trouble scoring runs. Even with the team's better performance in September, and 13 runs scored last Sunday, the Cubs still rank 15th in the NL in runs and are on pace to score 616 runs. That would be their lowest total in a non-labor-dispute season since 1976, when they scored 611. In just two other non-strike years in the 162-game schedule era have they scored fewer than 616 runs: 1968, 612 (and that was the Year of the Pitcher -- 612 ranked second in the NL), and 1963, 570 (and that team won 82 games).

Keep Soriano in the lineup, Dale. His fine year has been one of the few things we've had to cheer for in 2012.

Neither team's lineup was available at the time I wrote this post. Check the BCB Twitter feed for today's lineups.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Travis Wood
Travis Wood
vs. Adam Wainwright
Adam Wainwright
6-12 W-L 13-13
4.25 ERA 3.97
106 SO 174
44 BB 49
23 HR 14
vs. StL -- vs. Cubs

2012 - Travis Wood 6-12 25 23 0 0 0 0 139.2 119 71 66 23 44 106 4.25 1.17

2012 - Adam Wainwright 13-13 31 30 3 2 0 0 185.2 185 91 82 14 49 174 3.97 1.26

Travis Wood made back-to-back starts against the Cardinals on July 22 and 27. Let's charitably say those were not good outings. Oh, all right. They were pretty bad. He threw 11 total innings, gave up 16 hits and four walks and seven home runs, and 14 earned runs. If he's that bad today, we're doomed no matter how bad Adam Wainwright is (see below). All told, current Cardinals are hitting .405 (30-for-74) with nine home runs off Wood.

The Cubs have defeated the Cardinals seven times this year. Three of those have been the three starts Adam Wainwright has made against them; he's got a 6.60 ERA in 19 innings against the Cubs this year. In one of the games, Ian Stewart (remember him?) hit a home run, and Bryan LaHair hit a grand slam. Seems like about 10 years ago, doesn't it? Not only that, but Wainwright has a 6.86 ERA in his last four starts, with 11 walks given up in 19⅔ innings. Perhaps we are not doomed today.

Today's game is on WGN.

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 post at 12:05 p.m. CDT and the overflows at 1:05, 2:05 and 2:50 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.