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Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds Preview, Tuesday 9/1, 7:05 CT

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The Cubs look to even up the series against Cincinnati.

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, September!

Meaningful September baseball. Remember that? It's been seven years since the Cubs played any truly meaningful games after August.

That's really all you can ask for out of any baseball season: have your team in contention for a playoff spot as the regular season draws to a close. That's strange, too, isn't it? Seems like this year just began, but now we sit with just 32 games remaining.

With a 5½ game lead over the Giants for the second wild card, the Cubs control their own destiny. Keep winning and they'll be in the one-and-done game. That's a high-wire act, to be sure; one loss and you sit home the rest of October.

Win that game, as the Giants and Royals did last year, and all kinds of fun can ensue.

Hang on, everyone. This is going to be a fun ride.

Here are today's particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Fowler CF, Schwarber LF, Coghlan RF, Rizzo 1B, Bryant 3B, Montero C, Baez 2B, Haren P, Russell SS

Reds lineup:

Bourgeois CF, Bruce RF, Votto 1B, Phillips 2B, Frazier 3B, DeJesus LF, Suarez SS, Barnhart C, DeSclafani P

Today's Starting Pitchers

Dan Haren

Dan Haren


Cubs

vs. Anthony DeSclafani

Anthony DeSclafani


Reds

vs. Cin

--

vs. Cubs

The acquisition of Dan Haren was a calculated risk. He'd been at least somewhat decent this year, took the ball every fifth day, didn't seem worse than any other fifth starter in baseball.

Now he's been worse. A 6.31 ERA in five starts with eight home runs allowed in 25⅔ innings -- there's no way you can call that anything but "bad." Unless he pitches well tonight, I'd say this might be his last big-league start.

He has already faced the Reds twice this year and done reasonably well: 12⅓ innings, nine hits, three earned runs and only one home run. We could use pitching like that, Dan. Help us out.

Anthony DeSclafani has faced the Cubs three times this year. Two of the starts were good, one not so much. Overall he's thrown 18⅓ innings against the Cubs and allowed 13 hits and six runs (just two earned runs) and one home run (Miguel Montero). He had a 4.20 ERA in five starts in August with five home runs allowed in 30 innings; maybe he's wearing down with the long season and the Cubs can take advantage.

Today's game is on WGN. For coverage info in other Midwest markets click here (link opens .pdf).

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 Reds site Red Reporter. If you do go there to interact with Reds 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.

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.