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Cubs vs. Dodgers Preview, Thursday 9/18, 7:05 CT

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The Cubs are once again playing a team that needs to win games in a playoff chase. This weekend could be fun!

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Jonathan Daniel

The Cubs are coming off a sweep of the Reds and, with 10 games remaining in the season, need to go 6-4 to have their third winning calendar month of 2014. That's a modest goal, and one that just might be achievable.

The Dodgers are in a tight playoff race with the Giants; they lead by two games with 10 to play. Both teams are likely headed for the postseason, but both would surely like to avoid the one-and-done wild-card game. The Dodgers and Giants will meet for a three-game set in Los Angeles right after this series is over; that one will probably decide the division winner. In the meantime, the Cubs can make for trouble for the Dodgers by taking a couple of games of this set while the Giants are playing the Padres.

Please check out Russ La Croix' excellent series preview if you have not already done so.

Finally, here's your once-a-series reminder to check out (if you haven't already) SB Nation's partner fantasy site, Fan Duel, where you can win real money. Here's the link.

Here are today's particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Coghlan LF, Baez SS, Valbuena 3B, Soler RF, Kalish CF, Olt 1B, Watkins 2B, Baker C, Wada P

And once again, no reason to worry, as Anthony Rizzo is playing every other day for the time being.

Dodgers lineup:

Gordon 2B, Puig CF, Gonzalez 1B, Kemp RF, Ramirez SS, Van Slyke LF, Uribe 3B, Ellis C, Greinke P

Today's Starting Pitchers

Tsuyoshi Wada

Tsuyoshi Wada


Cubs

vs. Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke


Dodgers

vs. LA

--

vs. Cubs

Tsuyoshi Wada pitched reasonably well against the Dodgers August 2 in Los Angeles. In 5⅔ innings, the only runs he allowed came on a two-run homer by Matt Kemp. Wada's September (12 hits and three walks allowed in 7⅔ innings in two starts) hasn't been as good as his previous months; he'll likely get this and one more start to show he belongs in the mix for 2014.

The last time Zack Greinke faced the Cubs was August 26, 2013 in Los Angeles, where he nearly threw a complete-game win before having to be bailed out for the final out. Many of the players for the Cubs in that game aren't on the team anymore. What might be more important to remember about Greinke is his career record at Wrigley Field. He's made two starts at Wrigley, both while with the Brewers. In those starts he's thrown nine innings, allowed 17 hits and three walks and 14 earned runs for a 14.00 ERA. Maybe it's psychological, maybe it's just one of those things. But it would be nice to see this year's Cubs put that kind of pounding on Greinke.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago. In some parts of the country this game will be available on MLB Network.

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 Dodgers site True Blue LA.

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.