The last time the Cubs won a series over the Reds at Wrigley was September 5-6-7, 2011, when they took two of three from a Reds team that was having a down year after a playoff season the year before.
The same thing is happening to the Reds now -- a playoff year in 2013 (OK, so it was just the one-and-done game), thought to be a contender this year, but suffering an under-.500 campaign. It would be nice to begin to re-establish the Cubs winning over teams in their own division, as they've had trouble with the Reds this year as well as the last few years.
It was chilly and damp Monday night. It will be less damp but still chilly tonight. I expect another low-scoring game.
Finally, the postseason could begin to take shape tonight. The Orioles' magic number for clinching the A.L. East is 1; the Nationals' magic number for clinching the N.L. East is 2. Both teams can clinch their division titles with wins tonight.
Here are today's particulars.
Coghlan LF, Baez SS, Valbuena 3B, Soler RF, Castillo C, Valaika 1B, Watkins 2B, Szczur CF, Arrieta P
The absence of Anthony Rizzo is not cause for concern:
Rizzo is fine. This was a planned off day to ease him back into games. Remember, he missed 18 Gs. #Cubs— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) September 16, 2014
And, here's why Arismendy Alcantara is sitting tonight:
No Alcantara. His right wrist is a little sore after his crash into OF wall Monday. He was wearing a wrap on it last night #Cubs— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) September 16, 2014
Hamilton CF, Pena C, Frazier 1B, Bruce RF, Phillips 2B, Heisey LF, Santiago 3B, Cozart SS, Cueto P
Today's Starting Pitchers
After a rough outing to end August (this start against the Reds August 28), Jake Arrieta has allowed just three earned runs in 12⅓ innings in September with a 1.216 WHIP. He'll likely have this start and one more to end his 2014 season with somewhere around 155 innings, a decent workload that didn't seem to tax him too much. Following his return from the injury that delayed his season debut until May, he had no more issues and will make 25 starts this year; he's thrown at least six innings in 17 of his 23 starts to date. I'm looking for a strong finish.
In Johnny Cueto's last start against the Cubs, August 26 in Cincinnati, he allowed homers to Anthony Rizzo and Arismendy Alcantara, accounting for all the Cubs' runs in a 3-0 win. Since then he's posted a 1.17 ERA in three starts (three earned runs in 21 innings, four walks, 21 strikeouts). He enters tonight's game leading the major leagues in innings and batters faced and second in the National League in ERA behind Clayton Kershaw.
We had a 1-0 game Monday night and with these two pitchers going, we could have another one.
Today's game is on WGN.
For 2014, we are going to have the same game-thread routine as 2013. Here's how it works.
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.