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Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds preview, Saturday 9/30, 3:05 CT

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The Cubs go for their fourth straight win.

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Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

Notes for the regular season’s final Saturday game:

  • The Cubs seem to be peaking at the right time. Since they were swept by the Brewers earlier this month at Wrigley Field, they are 14-3. That’s tied with the Astros and Indians for the best record in baseball in that span.
  • Friday, the Cubs surpassed their 2016 run total of 808. They’re at 812 runs and counting with two games to go. That’s just six runs behind the Rockies for most in the National League, and is second only to the 2008 Cubs (855 runs) for the most scored by the franchise since 1935.
  • A win today would give the Cubs 92 wins, tying the 1969 team for fourth-most since 1945 (2016, 103; 2008, 97; 2015, 97).
  • Last year, the Cubs set a franchise record with 656 walks. This year’s total is currently 615, second in MLB behind the Dodgers, and sixth-most in franchise history. (Next up: 621, by the 1974 Cubs.)

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

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

Reds lineup:

Hamilton CF, Suarez 3B, Votto 1B, Gennett 2B, Duvall LF, Schebler RF, Peraza SS, Turner C, Stephens P

Jon Lester vs. Jackson Stephens

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
MLB.com

Jon Lester has had some very good starts, including his last outing vs. the Cardinals, and some clunkers since he returned from the DL September 2.

Against the Reds this year his overall numbers are awful: three starts, 10.13 ERA, 2.025 (!) WHIP in 13⅓ innings. However, seven of the 15 earned runs he’s allowed to the Reds this year came in a 1⅔-inning outing on August 17, right before he went on the DL. His previous Wrigley start vs. the Reds, May 18, was better: six innings, three runs, five strikeouts.

I’d like another one of those today, please.

Jackson Stephens, the man with two last names, made his major-league debut against the Cubs July 1 in Cincinnati and it was a decent start: five innings, three runs. Two Cubs homered off him: Jon Jay and Willson Contreras.

Stephens returned to the minor leagues after that and since his recall this month has made three relief appearances and two starts, the last of which was pretty good: six innings of two-hit ball against the Red Sox last Sunday.

Stephens is 23 and has talent, although he kind of came out of nowhere. He wasn’t on MLB.com’s preseason top 30 Reds prospects list.

Let’s hope the Cubs hit him today.

Today’s game is on CSN Chicago.

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.