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Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals Preview, Friday 9/23, 1:20 CT

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This ought to be fun.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

You don't really need me to get you excited for a Cubs/Cardinals game, do you? We all know what's at stake in this series for both teams.

Enjoy the weekend, and here's hoping the Cubs can sweep their arch-rivals right out of the wild-card race.

One transaction note: the Cubs activated Pedro Strop from the DL today.

Here is your once-a-series reminder about SB Nation's daily fantasy partner FanDuel. If you want to play, click this link.

Here are today's particulars.

Cubs lineup:

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

Cardinals lineup:

Carpenter 2B, Gyorko SS, Piscotty RF, Adams 1B, Molina C, Grichuk CF, Peralta 3B, Wong LF, Leake P

Jake Arrieta

vs

Mike Leake

We keep waiting for Jake Arrieta to "turn it around," and now would be as good a time as any. He could get two more starts before the end of the regular season, depending on how Joe Maddon wants to arrange his rotation. His last start against the Cardinals, August 12 at Wrigley Field, was decent enough (just one earned run in 5⅔ innings), but still too many pitches -- 105, without finishing the sixth. Overall vs. St. Louis this year he has allowed six earned runs in three starts covering 15⅔ innings (3.45 ERA, 1.404 WHIP).

Mike Leake has made three starts against the Cubs this year and has a 4.26 ERA in 19 innings. The Cubs won two of the three games, including September 12 in St. Louis, where he allowed homers to Ben Zobrist and Dexter Fowler . One thing Leake has done fairly well this year is not issue walks (27 in 168⅓ innings), so he appears to be pitching to contact more. Perhaps the Cubs can take advantage of this.

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 ESPN (no blackouts).

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.