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Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals preview, Monday 9/25, 7:15 CT

The Cubs can eliminate the Cardinals from the division race tonight.

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Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

One more look back at Sunday’s magnificent performance by Jose Quintana:

Also, Ben Zobrist weighs in on the possibility of clinching the division title in St. Louis:

Now, on to notes for today’s game:

  • If the Cubs win tonight, they will have 288 wins in the last three years. That will surpass the most wins in a three-year span since 1910-11-12 (287). The Cubs won 300 games from 1909-10-11. The franchise record is 322, from 1906-07-08.
  • The Cubs are 113-55 (.673) in August, September and October regular season games since the start of 2015, the best record in baseball after August 1 in that span.
  • The Cubs have a 44-23 (.657) record since the All-Star break, the second-best mark in baseball and trailing only the Indians (51-18, .739). They rank second in the majors with a +107 run differential since the break, trailing only the Indians (+167).
  • Anthony Rizzo tied his career high with his 109th RBI Sunday. He has also matched his career high in home runs (32), so one more HR would break both those marks. Rizzo also has 30 doubles, 30 homers and 100 RBI for the third straight season. He’s just the fourth Cub ever to reach those thresholds in at least three seasons, joining Hack Wilson (four times, 1927-30), Billy Williams (three times, 1965, 1970, 1972) and Sammy Sosa (three times, 1997, 2000-01). Rizzo and Wilson are the lone Cubs to do so in at least three straight seasons.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

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

Cardinals lineup:

Carpenter 1B, Pham LF, Fowler CF, DeJong SS, Molina C, Gyorko 3B, Piscotty RF, Wong 2B, Weaver P

Jon Lester vs. Luke Weaver

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

Jon Lester, to put it mildly, has not had a good September. Four starts, 5.91 ERA, 1.828 WHIP, 12 walks and five home runs allowed in 21⅓ innings.

Yikes. Let me put that another way: He’s been pretty bad since August 1: eight starts, 6.81 ERA, 1.790 WHIP, 19 walks and eight home runs allowed in 39⅔ innings.

I find myself wondering if Lester is still not 100 percent healthy. He’s certainly lost a lot of his control and command with all those walks. He’s simply going to have to be better. Like, for example, as good as his start against the Cardinals July 22 at Wrigley Field: eight innings, three hits, two runs, 10 strikeouts.

Luke Weaver has been one of the Cardinals’ top pitching prospects for the last two seasons, and he’s having an excellent run since joining the rotation to stay August 23: six starts, 39⅓ innings, 1.49 ERA, 0.908 WHIP, four (!) walks and 49 strikeouts.

Mostly, this has been against bad teams. Five of the six starts have been against the Reds, Pirates and Giants. The Brewers had eight hits and two runs off him in 5⅔ innings August 29.

Weaver has one career start against the Cubs. It was his major-league debut, August 13, 2016 at Wrigley Field. The Cubs scored two runs in four innings off him, courtesy of a two-run homer by Addison Russell. (Don’t look at the rest of that boxscore, as it includes a bad bullpen meltdown.)

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

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday (classic mode) (Note: Going forward, I am going to link to the “classic” Gameday here because 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.) 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.