ST. LOUIS -- I'll beg your indulgence for a few personal notes about attending this series.
The last time I went to meaningful Cubs September games on the road was 2003, when I went to Puerto Rico for the Cubs/Expos series. And that one was planned the previous winter, when there was no thought at all that the 2003 Cubs would be contenders -- I just wanted to go to an interesting place to see the Cubs play.
This trip was also first contemplated last winter, but final arrangements weren't made until a few weeks ago. By then I knew these games would be important to the Cubs. They won't catch the Cardinals for the division title (not unless there's a collapse of historic level from the Cardinals), but winning these games is important for the Cubs for their own playoff position, not to mention the still-active possibility of catching the Pirates for the top wild-card spot.
I used to go to St. Louis fairly often for games, but for various reasons haven't been here since 1992, so this will be my first trip to the new Busch Stadium. Here's my personal all-time record seeing the Cubs in St. Louis:
1977: 0-1 1978: 1-0 1979: 2-2 1981: 0-2 1982: 2-1 1984: 2-1 1992: 2-0
That's 9-7 overall (a good sign, perhaps?) and if you're wondering why I went to only one game the first two times, it's because I was visiting a friend who was in school at the U. of I. in Champaign. We just drove down from there for one game and back after.
Finally, here is your once-a-series reminder about SB Nation's partner daily fantasy game, FanDuel. If you want to participate, here's the link.
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, La Stella 3B, Coghlan LF, Rizzo 1B, Bryant RF, Montero C, Castro 2B, Haren P, Russell SS
Well, that's different. But hey, I trust Joe Maddon on lineup decisions.
Carpenter 3B, Piscotty LF, Heyward RF, Peralta SS, Moss 1B, Molina C, Wong 2B, Jay CF, Lynn P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Don't know what more to say about Dan Haren. He saved his rotation spot, most likely, with a decent outing against the Reds his last start. His last start against the Cardinals, June 25 while with the Marlins, should look depressingly familiar: six innings, four runs. At least he went six innings that day, something he's done only once in his six Cub starts. Haren, as you know, was originally drafted by the Cardinals and pitched for them briefly in 2003 and 2004. Will that make a difference today? Hard to know.
Lance Lynn left his last start August 29 after he rolled his ankle. Originally, he was going to start in his usual turn Friday against the Pirates, but the Cardinals pushed him back a few days. He's made two starts against the Cubs this year. One was good, the other not so much. Anthony Rizzo homered off Lynn in the latter. A big helping of "not so much" today, please.
Lynn always seems to look sad in his photos. Let's keep him that way.
Today's game is on WGN. For coverage info in other Midwest markets click here (link opens .pdf).
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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.