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Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds Preview, Wednesday 9/21, 7:05 CT

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The Cubs go for their third sweep of the Reds this year.

Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs swept the Reds in April at Wrigley Field and in June in Cincinnati, and overall are 12-3 against the N.L. Central's cellar-dwellers. They have outscored them 116-53 (that becomes 111-40 without the Reds' one blowout win in Cincinnati in April).

They did have one streak broken Tuesday -- the Cubs had homered in 16 consecutive games against the Reds, but their 6-1 win Tuesday night did not include a long ball. So they can start another streak tonight. They've outscored the Reds 11-3 in the two games so far.

And they have another three-game set against the Reds to complete the regular season next week in Cincinnati. The Cubs are 28-9 against the Reds since September 15, 2014 and have swept them four times in that span.

The Cubs are near a specific team home-run record:

The Cubs have hit 35 homers against the Reds this year in 15 games. Those 37 homers vs. the Cardinals were hit in 22 games. This year's more impressive in every way.

Here are today's particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Fowler CF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist 2B, Heyward RF, Baez SS, Montero C, Coghlan LF, Lackey P

Reds lineup:

Peraza SS, Suarez 3B, Votto 1B, Duvall LF, Phillips 2B, Schebler CF, Selsky RF, Barnhart C, Stephenson P

John Lackey

vs

Robert Stephenson

John Lackey has a distinction he'd probably rather not: He's the only Cubs pitcher to lose twice to the Reds this year, and he allowed six runs to them both times. (I'll spare you the boxscore links.) So what have you done for us lately, John? In nine starts since the All-Star break, Lackey has a 2.87 ERA and 0.939 WHIP in 59⅔ innings. He has allowed nine homers in that span, so keeping the ball in the ballpark would be helpful tonight.

Robert Stephenson, the Reds' No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft, is making his sixth major-league start tonight. He has been a top-40 prospect in all the prospect rankings in each of the last three years, and got a callup after mediocre Triple-A results (4.41 ERA, 1.361 WHIP) in 24 starts. He's had one good start out of his previous five big-league outings, and like a lot of other Reds pitchers, he's given up a lot of home runs (six in 25⅓ innings), and he did that in the minors, too (17 homers in 136⅔ innings). Could be good pickings for Cubs hitters.

Today's game is on WGN. For affiliate information in the Illinois/Indiana/Iowa Cubs TV market click here.

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.