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2015 National League Division Series Game 3 Preview: Cubs vs. Cardinals, Monday 10/12, 3:37 CT

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Behind their ace, the Cubs look to take a 2-1 series lead over their arch-rivals.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

There are a lot of things I could have put in this space, but most of them you've read or heard about already.

So I thought I'd put this quote from Theo Epstein as this afternoon's lead-in:

As much as the Cubs rely on analytics, Epstein insisted they're "not just numbers crunchers." When he came to the Cubs in 2011, one of the storylines was whether he'd bring along "Carmine," the name of the database he used in Boston.

Epstein admitted the "computer geek" stereotype of the Cubs' front office gets "under my skin" at times.

"I don't think it's fair," he said. "Like Carmine, we have one here called 'Ivy.' But that's half the equation. Internally, I think if we're good at anything it's understanding the game is played by human beings, and to get ahead these days you have to take a humanistic approach to player development. And we do.

"I feel like that's one of the reasons we've had a lot of success in player development, we don't just look at players as a stat line. We look at them as human beings and try to support them during adversity and keep them grounded during the success."

Couldn't agree more, and that, in my view, is one of the things that Joe Maddon does best. Between what Theo said and Joe's ability to manage people beyond the nuts-and-bolts of a baseball game, the Cubs have what I think is the perfect management team in place.

Now, on to winning this game.

Cubs lineup:

Fowler CF, Soler RF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Castro 2B, Schwarber LF, Russell SS, Montero C, Arrieta P

Cardinals lineup:

Carpenter 3B, Piscotty 1B, Holliday LF, Heyward CF, Peralta SS, Pham CF, Molina C, Wong 2B, Wacha P

Today's Starting Pitchers

Jake Arrieta

Jake Arrieta


Cubs

vs. Michael Wacha

Michael Wacha


Cardinals

vs. StL

--

vs. Cubs

Jake Arrieta has faced the Cardinals three times this year -- all of them before the All-Star break. You know, before the time when Jake became Jake! One of the starts was rather rough, but as Jake himself said:

"I don't remember anything about it, honestly," Arrieta said with a straight face.

I remember this one well, the second game of the season, when Jake threw seven shutout innings against the Cardinals, allowing three hits and striking out seven. It would be nice to bookend Jake's season against St. Louis with another one just like that one.

Michael Wacha has faced the Cubs four times this year, and the Cubs hit him hard in three of them, including this game in St. Louis September 8, the worst start of Wacha's career. Overall he had a 6.86 ERA and 1.667 WHIP against the Cubs, with four home runs allowed in 21 innings. Beyond that, Wacha seemed to wear down in September: 7.88 ERA, 1.792 WHIP in five starts, seven home runs allowed in 24 innings.

Wacha hasn't pitched in 12 days. Will the layoff help or hurt him? We will find out in just a couple of hours.

Today's game is on TBS. Announcers: Brian Anderson (play-by-play), Dennis Eckersley and Joe Simpson (analysts) and reporter Matt Winer.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Cardinals site Viva el Birdos. If you do go there to interact with Cardinals fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.

The 2015 Game Thread procedure has changed a bit. Here's how it will work going forward. (And a reminder that a "Rapid Recap" will be posted here by Josh shortly after the game ends, with my own recap at the usual time, 8 a.m. CT tomorrow.)

You'll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).

At the same time, a StoryStream™ containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.

You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap 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 the game's StoryStream™ as noted above.

The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.

Discuss amongst yourselves.