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Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals Preview, Sunday 9/23, 1:20 CT

The Cubs are going to take on the Cardinals again, and for once, it's going to be a nice sunny day.

David Banks - Getty Images

A 10-game homestand, at last, ends Sunday afternoon. I say "at last" because the Cubs have lost six of the first nine, just two of the games have lasted under three hours, three of them lasted over four hours and one of the two sub-three-hour games was the one that began at 10:42 p.m. and ended at 1:28 a.m.

All of that is to say that this feels like about a 20-game homestand, and the losses don't help.

This game is important to the Cardinals, who increased their lead for the second wild card to 2½ games over the Brewers, and who have a series coming up in Houston after they leave Wrigley Field. Unless St. Louis has an epic collapse, looks like they're headed to the playoffs, or at least the wild-card play-in game (likely against the Braves). But then again, we need look back just one year for some epic collapses during the season's final week. Perhaps the Cubs can contribute to that in their last 2012 game against St. Louis.

That'd be nice. What would be nicer, in a way: get this one done in under three hours.

Finally, the Cubs will be honoring the retired Kerry Wood in a pre-game ceremony Sunday; the Cubs are giving away 20,000 Wood posters and proceeds from the 50/50 raffle Sunday (it's held at every game), will benefit Kerry's foundation. And no, his number should not be retired. I can see the team holding it out and not re-issuing it for a year or two, but Wood's career does not deserve a number flag on the foul pole.

Lineups were not available at the time I wrote this post. Please check the BCB Twitter feed for both the Cubs and Cardinals lineups.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Justin Germano
Justin Germano
vs. Kyle Lohse
Kyle Lohse
2-8 W-L 15-3
6.17 ERA 2.71
37 SO 129
17 BB 36
5 HR 17
vs. StL -- vs. Cubs

2012 - Justin Germano 2-8 11 10 0 0 0 0 54.0 61 41 37 5 17 37 6.17 1.44

2012 - Kyle Lohse 15-3 32 31 0 0 0 0 199.0 179 67 60 17 36 129 2.71 1.08

Justin Germano made his Cubs debut against the Cardinals July 21 in St. Louis -- relieving Matt Garza, in the game Garza suffered that weird elbow injury that ended his season. Germano threw three decent innings that day, leading us to believe that maybe he was going to be decent. His ERA since then in 10 starts is 6.35. That's not anywhere near decent. Current Cardinals are hitting .408 (20-for-49) against him. Doomed, I say.

Kyle Lohse is having the best year of his career -- in a contract year. How convenient, right? He's faced the Cubs twice this season and allowed six earned runs in 13⅔ innings for a 3.95 ERA, quite a bit higher than his season ERA. The Cardinals won both those games, though. Overall, current Cubs are hitting .354 (46-for-130) against Lohse with five home runs, three by Alfonso Soriano. Perhaps, doom will not happen 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 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.