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Cubs vs. Cardinals Preview, Friday 9/27, 7:15 CT: More Pennant-Race Baseball!

The Cubs will try to prevent the Cardinals from clinching the NL Central. (Good luck with that.)

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs have certainly had their share of important games this week, haven't they? A clincher for the Braves at Wrigley. A clincher for the Pirates at Wrigley. And tonight, a clincher for the Cardinals, unless the Cubs can win tonight's game. The Cubs players have certainly gotten to witness enough of these; they should be good at celebrating once they finally win something. Here's hoping that's soon.

Anyway, here's how the race breaks down in the N.L. Central: If the Pirates sweep the Reds and the Cubs sweep the Cardinals (yeah, I know, really unlikely on both counts), the Pirates and Cardinals would be tied for the division title and would play a tiebreaker game in Pittsburgh on Monday. One St. Louis win or Pittsburgh loss makes the Cardinals division champions.

For the wild card, the Pirates and Reds have both qualified. The winner of the series between the Pirates and Reds in Cincinnati will host the wild-card game between those two clubs on Tuesday.

All set? Play ball, then. I really do believe this: bad baseball is better than no baseball. We will miss the Cubs when they are away for the winter.

Cubs lineup:

Castro SS, Murphy 3B, Rizzo 1B, Navarro C, Schierholtz RF, Sweeney CF, Bogusevic LF, Barney 2B, Wood P

Cardinals lineup:

Carpenter 2B, Beltran RF, Holliday LF, Adams 1B, Molina C, Freese 3B, Jay CF, Kozma SS, Lynn P

Today's Starting Pitchers

Travis Wood

Travis Wood


vs. Lance Lynn

Lance Lynn


vs. StL


vs. Cubs

2013 - Travis Wood 9-11 36 31 0 0 0 0 199.0 159 70 66 18 64 143 2.98 1.12

2013 - Lance Lynn 14-10 32 32 0 0 0 0 195.2 185 92 89 14 76 189 4.09 1.33

Travis Wood's last start, an excellent outing against the Braves, put his season ERA below 3 for the first time since July. If he throws seven innings tonight, he'd have to allow two runs or fewer to keep it there. Here's hoping. Wood has had a good September (2.33 ERA, four starts, 27 total innings), though in four starts vs. St. Louis this year he has a 4.01 ERA and 1.338 WHIP in 24⅔ innings. I'd love to see him deny the Cardinals the division title.

The Cubs have hit Lance Lynn pretty well this year; in four starts he has a 4.50 ERA and has allowed four home runs in 24 innings. He has a 1.45 ERA in his last three starts (two of those against the Brewers). Which Lynn will show up tonight? Doom, or no doom?

Today's game is on CSN Chicago.

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Cardinals site Viva el Birdos.

Here's the scoop on game threads for 2013. You'll find the game preview -- like this one -- posting as the first link in the StoryStream™, which will then contain all the overflow threads and the recap. The recap will also be on the front page as a separate post; once I post a game recap, the stream for each game will be retitled "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.

In general, game previews will post two hours before game time. Exception: for day games after night games, that will usually be 90 minutes.

You will also be able to find the First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in this StoryStream™. As I've done for each regular-season game for several years now, we'll have the First Pitch thread at five minutes before game time (moved up from actual game time per your requests), then an overflow one hour, two hours and 2:45 after game time.

Discuss amongst yourselves.