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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Cardinals series preview

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The Cubs can clinch the N.L. Central during this series. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Cubs postseason clinchers since 1945 and location:

  • 1984: September 24, N.L. East title, defeated Pirates in Pittsburgh
  • 1989: September 26, N.L. East title, defeated Expos in Montreal
  • 1998: September 28, N.L. wild card, defeated Giants in tiebreaker at Wrigley Field
  • 2003: September 27, N.L. Central title, defeated Pirates at Wrigley Field
  • 2007: September 28, N.L. Central title, clinched when Brewers lost to Padres
  • 2008: September 20, N.L. Central title, defeated Cardinals at Wrigley Field
  • 2015: September 25, N.L. 2nd wild card, clinched when Giants lost to Athletics
  • 2016: September 15, N.L. Central title, clinched when Cardinals lost to Giants

So in the eight playoff seasons since 1984, the Cubs have clinched by winning five times and by another team losing the other three, though they did have a terrific celebration last year when, the afternoon after the “back-in” clinching, they beat the Brewers on a walkoff homer by Miguel Montero.

Just one of those clinchers was in a win over the Cardinals, the division title of 2008. The Cubs have clinched a postseason berth in St. Louis before — in 1938, when they won the second game of a doubleheader October 1. That clinched the N.L. pennant. They also clinched the 1935 pennant in St. Louis by winning the first game of a doubleheader September 27.

But those were 79 and 82 years and two St. Louis ballparks ago. It would be great to clinch the division against the Cubs’ biggest rival in their home park, likely with thousands of Cubs fans in attendance. That could happen as early as Tuesday.

Fun fact

The Cubs are 11-4 vs. the Cardinals so far this season and have won the last five games and eight of the last nine between the two teams.

Pitching matchups

Monday: Jon Lester, LHP (11-8, 4.56 ERA, 1.344 WHIP, 4.17 FIP) vs. Luke Weaver, RHP (7-1, 2.05 ERA, 1.025 WHIP, 2.36 FIP)

Tuesday: Jake Arrieta, RHP (14-9, 3.43 ERA, 1.198 WHIP, 4.04 FIP) vs. Carlos Martinez, RHP (12-11, 3.63 ERA, 1.206 WHIP, 3.91 FIP)

Wednesday: John Lackey, RHP (11-11, 4.67 ERA, 1.295 WHIP, 5.40 FIP) vs. Michael Wacha, RHP (12-8, 4.00 ERA, 1.359 WHIP, 3.63 FIP)

Thursday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (7-5, 3.14 ERA, 1.196 WHIP, 4.01 FIP) vs. Lance Lynn, RHP (11-8, 3.47 ERA, 1.244 WHIP, 4.77 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Monday: 7:15 p.m. CT, CSN Chicago, MLB Network (outside Chicago and St. Louis markets)

Tuesday: 7:15 p.m. CT, CSN Chicago, ESPN (outside Chicago and St. Louis markets)

Wednesday: 6:05 p.m. CT, CSN Chicago, ESPN (outside Chicago and St. Louis markets)

Thursday: 6:15 p.m. CT, WGN

Prediction

The pitching matchups seem mostly favorable and hopefully the division title will be wrapped up after Tuesday’s game. The Cubs should win three of four here. If they do that, the third win will be the Cubs’ 90th of the year. That would make three straight 90-win seasons, the first for the franchise since 1928-29-30.

Up next

The Cubs wrap the 2017 regular season with a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field, beginning Friday afternoon.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Cardinals?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    4
    (58 votes)
  • 34%
    3
    (244 votes)
  • 52%
    2
    (373 votes)
  • 2%
    1
    (20 votes)
  • 1%
    0
    (10 votes)
705 votes total Vote Now