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Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals Preview, Wednesday 9/14, 12:45 CT

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The Cubs can reduce their division-clinching magic number to one with a win this afternoon.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

In addition to clinching a tie for the division title, a win over the Cardinals in this afternoon's contest would...

  • Win the series over the Cardinals and even up the season series at 8-8
  • Give the Cubs a winning road trip at 5-4
  • Give them their 93rd win of the year. Only 11 teams in the 140 seasons of Cubs franchise history have won more than 93 games.

Those are good enough reasons, right? (Not that beating the Cardinals any time isn't good.)

Here are today's particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Fowler CF, Bryant LF, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist 2B, Russell SS, Heyward RF, Baez 3B, Ross C, Lester P

Cardinals lineup:

Carpenter 1B, Diaz SS, Piscotty RF, Moss LF, Molina C, Gyorko 3B, Grichuk CF, Wong 2B, Martinez P

Jon Lester

vs

Carlos Martinez

Jon Lester is having one of the best years of his career, particularly since the All-Star break (1.65 ERA, 0.964 WHIP in 10 starts covering 65⅓ innings). He faced the Cardinals August 11 at Wrigley Field and threw six strong innings. Lifetime at Busch Stadium: two starts, 14 innings, two earned runs allowed.

Carlos Martinez seems to always be tough on the Cubs, although they hit him well enough in his last start against him (six innings, seven hits, three walks), which was the August 11 game started by Lester at Wrigley. They also hit him hard May 25 at Busch Stadium -- five innings, six hits, six runs. Martinez' last five starts have been very good: 1.85 ERA, 1.147 WHIP, just one home run in 34 innings.

Today's game is on ABC7 Chicago. For affiliate information in the Illinois/Indiana/Iowa Cubs TV market click here. It's also available on MLB Network (outside the Chicago and St. Louis markets).

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 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 2016 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used at the end of 2015. Here's how it works.

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.