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Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers preview, Thursday 9/21, 7:10 CT

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Here. We. Go.

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t need to tell you of the importance of the next four games.

Here are some game notes:

  • The Cubs have won 20 of their last 30 road games dating to July 2 after starting the campaign 18-25 in their first 43 road contests. Overall, the team’s 38-35 road record is the best among N.L. Central division clubs (Milwaukee is second at 38-37).
  • Prior to his Sept. 4 outing, Arrieta began this season’s “second half” with a 6-1 record and a 1.59 ERA (10 ER/56⅔ IP) in nine starts.
  • Cubs catchers lead MLB with a combined .297 batting average (163-for-548), .371 on-base percentage, .518 slugging mark and .889 OPS.
  • The Cubs 210 homers rank third-most in the N.L. behind the Mets (215) and the Brewers (214), and that also ranks third in franchise history. The 1998 Cubs hit 212 home runs and the franchise record is 235, set in 2004.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

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

Brewers lineup:

Sogard SS, Walker 2B, Braun LF, Shaw 3B, Santana RF, Thames 1B, Vogt C, Phillips CF, Davies P

Jake Arrieta vs. Zach Davies

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Arrieta was in the midst of one of his most dominating runs as a Cub when he hurt his hamstring 17 days ago. Fortunately, this wasn’t an arm injury and if the training staff thinks he’s ready to go, I think he’ll be fine.

Even including that misbegotten start in Pittsburgh, Jake’s last 12 outings: 2.01 ERA, 0.991 WHIP in 71⅔ innings. Thus he was averaging six-plus innings per start before he had to leave in the third inning September 4.

Jake has one start vs. the Brewers this year, and it was a good one: April 9 at Miller Park, he threw seven innings, allowed three hits and three runs and struck out 10. Ryan Braun’s three-run homer accounted for all the Milwaukee runs.

Zach Davies was Jake’s opponent that April afternoon, and he allowed five runs in five innings, including a home run by Kyle Schwarber.

His other three starts vs. the Cubs this year were much better, including a three-hit, one-run, seven-inning outing at Wrigley Field September 10.

He followed that one up by getting pounded by the Marlins five days ago, and though that was a “road” game, it was actually in his home park. So maybe that sort of thing can continue.

Current Cubs are hitting .280 (45-for-161) with four home runs, one of those by Kris Bryant, who is hitting .360 (9-for-25) against Davies.

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.

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Discuss amongst yourselves.