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Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds Preview, Tuesday 9/20, 7:05 CT

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The Cubs go for two straight over the Reds.

David Banks/Getty Images

A Cubs win tonight would give them 96 for the season, equaling the total of the 1984 N.L. East champions.

Only 10 teams in the 140 years of franchise history have won more than 96 games. Next up would be the 2008 N.L. Central champions and 2015 N.L. wild-card team with 97.

No Cubs team has won more than 97 games since 1945. If the Cubs can win their next five games they'd reach the 100 mark against the Cardinals, which would be awesome.

I haven't posted a walk watch in a while, as the Cubs have been quiescent on that front. They have now walked 598 times in 150 games, or 3.99 per game. They'll have to step it up to break the club record. The current pace is for 646. The record is 650, set in 1975. To break the record the Cubs would have to walk 53 times in the 12 remaining games, or 4.42 walks per game. It's certainly still possible.

Also, the Cubs will have to average five runs per game over the season's last 12 games to score 800 runs this year. That's also possible. That would make this year's team the first 800-run Cubs team since 2008 and only the second since 1970.

Finally, the Cubs passed the three million mark in attendance Monday. They're at 3,028,965 with five dates left. I'd expect the weekend vs. the Cardinals to be three sellouts at 41,000+ and the other games somewhat lower, so the final total will likely be around 3.23 million. That would be third-best in franchise history, behind the 3,252,462 in 2007. The team record is 3,300,200 set in 2008.

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

Reds lineup:

Peraza SS, Renda 3B, Votto 1B, Duvall LF, Phillips 2B, Schebler RF, Holt CF, Cabrera C, Smith P

Jon Lester

vs

Josh Smith

Jon Lester is having what will likely be the best year of his career. Since the All-Star break: 1.47 ERA in 11 starts covering 73⅓ innings. In September: one earned run in 24 innings (0.38 ERA, 0.667 WHIP). Against the Reds this year: 2.18 ERA, 0.823 WHIP in three starts, the Cubs won all three games.

Josh Smith has made 29 relief appearances for the Reds this year. This will be his first start of 2016. Against the Cubs he's thrown four innings and allowed two runs this season, one of those runs being a home run by Addison Russell. Last year he made one start against the Cubs, September 29 in Cincinnati, and allowed four runs in five innings, along with five walks. Smith threw 62 pitches three days ago against the Pirates, and the most he's thrown in any outing this year is 69, so this could be a bullpen day for the Reds.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago.

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 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.