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Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals preview, Friday 9/28, 1:20 CT

The Cubs look to reduce their magic number to 2.

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Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

This section of the game preview usually consists of some notes about the Chicago Cubs.

I don’t think you need any of that this morning, because at this point, we all should be laser-focused on something pretty simple: the number three.

Three wins by the Cubs this weekend wins the N.L. Central. Sure, sweeping any series is never easy, but I do like the Cubs’ chances.

If they don’t sweep the Cardinals, they will need help from the Detroit Tigers.

That’s a sentence you likely did not think you would be reading here when this season began.

Don’t count the Tigers out, they are starting two decent pitchers (Jordan Zimmermann and Daniel Norris) tonight and Saturday, and for Detroit, a 95-loss team that’s going home for the winter after Sunday, this is their chance to be part of a 2018 pennant race. You can be sure they’ll be well-prepared by Ron Gardenhire, a man who’s managed multiple postseason teams.

Go Cubs. Go Tigers. Get it done by Sunday so the Cubs can have three days off.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Cardinals lineup:

Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. Adam Wainwright, RHP

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Hendricks has just been outstanding over his last seven starts: 1.55 ERA, 0.906 WHIP, just six walks and one home run in 46⅓ innings.

He’s made three starts vs. the Cardinals this year. Two were pretty good, the other not so much, but all three were made before Kyle really figured things out and started pitching the way he has in previous years. Current Cardinals are hitting .244 (41-for-168) against Kyle, and he’s handled MVP candidate Matt Carpenter pretty well (7-for-34, .206).

Adam Wainwright could be pitching his final game for the Cardinals. He’s 36, a free agent after this year, and he has missed most of 2018 with elbow issues, making only seven starts. He’s made one good start and two mediocre ones since returning from the DL and his one start against the Cubs, April 17 at Wrigley Field, was pre-injury and played in very cold conditions. He allowed one unearned run, but walked four in five innings. Current Cubs are hitting .244 (42-for-172) against him with three home runs (Anthony Rizzo, Willson Contreras, Jason Heyward).

Today’s game is on ABC7 Chicago. It’s also on ESPN (no blackouts). ESPN announcers: Jon Sciambi and Rick Sutcliffe.

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

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The 2018 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2017. 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.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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