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Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals preview, Friday 9/15, 1:20 CT

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I don’t have to tell you how important this series is.

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Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Cubs/Cardinals series don’t really need that much hype, even when there’s not a postseason berth at stake. And with this series, there is, so anything I could say here won’t really add anything you don’t already know about Cubs vs. Cardinals.

I’ll simply mention the Cubs are 8-4 against St. Louis this year and have won five of the last six games played between the two clubs.

Onward.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Zobrist 2B, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Contreras C, Schwarber LF, Jay CF, Heyward RF, Baez SS, Lackey P

Cardinals lineup:

Carpenter 3B, Pham LF, DeJong SS, J. Martinez 1B, Molina C, Piscotty RF, Wong 2B, Bader CF, C. Martinez P

John Lackey vs. Carlos Martinez

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

John Lackey, who otherwise could have been on target to start against the Mets, was pushed back to start this game because of his success against his former team, the Cardinals.

In two starts against St. Louis this year, Lackey has a 3.46 ERA and 1.077 WHIP in 13 innings, and overall in six starts against them since joining the Cubs, Lackey has a 2.50 ERA and 0.983 WHIP in 39⅔ innings, with 44 strikeouts.

His last start, a week ago vs. the Brewers, was brilliant: seven innings, two runs, nine strikeouts. I’ll take one like that any time.

Carlos Martinez vs. the Cubs this year: three starts, 2.25 ERA, 1.300 WHIP. That’s really good. One of those starts, back in April, was seven shutout innings. The other two have just been decent: six total runs in 12x innings. The Cardinals won all three Martinez starts vs. the Cubs, three of the four games they’ve won against the Cubs this year. So this is likely going to be the toughest game of this series.

Anthony Rizzo has hit three career homers off Martinez.

Today's game is on ABC7 Chicago. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Chicago and St. Louis markets).

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday (classic mode) (Note: Going forward, I am going to link to the “classic” Gameday here because MLB.com broke the links I used to use to get to their “new” Gameday. If you click on this link, you can then click on “New Gameday” at the bottom of the page to get to the updated version. Note that the “classic” Gameday won’t load until just before game time.)

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

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The 2017 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2016. 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.

Get tickets to Cubs games from our partner StubHub here.

Discuss amongst yourselves.