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cardinals logoThe final home series of the year for the Cubs, appropriately, comes against the Cardinals. One of these years, the two teams will face each other in the heat of a divisional playoff race, and it’s going to be awesome.

This year, however, the Cubs will simply try to get to 70 wins, and maybe avoid 90 losses.

We’re Going Streaking

The Cubs managed just one win against the Dodgers in four tries, meaning the Cubs’ absolute best possible record on the year stands now at 75-87.

The Cardinals have been on fire of late (because of course – and “clutch”), winning seven of eight before last night’s loss to the Reds. Because of other games, they locked up at least some kind of postseason spot despite the loss. They are 2.5 games up on the Pirates in the NL Central, so the Cubs could play a critical role in deciding the outcome of the division.

That is to say, the Cardinals could clinch the thing at Wrigley this week. Yuck. Don’t let it happen.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Monday, September 22 at 7:05 CT on WGN.
  • Tuesday, September 23 at 7:05 CT on WCIU.
  • Wednesday, September 24 at 7:05 CT on CSN.

Expected Starters and Lineups

These lineups are likely to be pretty close to what actually gets fielded, but you’ll want to check each day’s Pre-Gamin’ post for the actual lineup.

Cubs

Starters: Travis Wood (4.86 ERA, 4.47 FIP; 1.86 K/BB), Kyle Hendricks (2.28 ERA, 3.22 FIP; 3.07 K/BB), Jake Arrieta (2.65 ERA, 2.30 FIP; 3.93 K/BB)

Lineup:

  1. Chris Coghlan, LF
  2. Javier Baez, SS
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Jorge Soler, RF
  5. Luis Valbuena, 3B
  6. Welington Castillo, C
  7. Arismendy Alcantara, CF
  8. Logan Watkins/Chris Valaika, 2B
  9. Pitcher

Cardinals

Starters: Adam Wainwright (2.45 ERA, 2.93 FIP; 3.49 K/BB), Shelby Miller (3.68 ERA, 4.48 FIP; 1.68 K/BB), John Lackey (4.50 ERA, 4.48 FIP; 3.64 K/BB)

Lineup:

  1. Matt Carpenter, 3B
  2. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  3. Matt Holliday, LF
  4. Matt Adams, 1B
  5. Yadier Molina, C
  6. Oscar Taveras, RF
  7. Jon Jay, CF
  8. Kolten Wong, 2B
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

In his five games since returning from his back injury, Anthony Rizzo seems unbothered: .313/.476/.563 with a .457 wOBA.

This is fun: if I stretch to find a Jorge Soler slump, it has taken place over his last four games. He’s hit .231/.333/.385 with a .320 wOBA and a league average 100 wRC+. That’s his slump, and it was a four-game stretch.

Javy Baez can’t quite get that strikeout rate under 40% – it presently sits at 41.1%.

Jon Jay, at .304/.376/.382, has been the Cardinals’ third best offensive player this year by wRC+ (118), behind only Matt Holliday (132) and Jhonny Peralta (120).

Adding John Lackey and Justin Masterson has been a net loss for the Cardinals, at least if you go by WAR. The pair has accounted for -0.3 WAR with the Cardinals.

Speaking of which: has anyone in baseball lost more money than Justin Masterson this year? I still think he gets a big league contract from a team, but the fact that you could even wonder such a thing would have been unfathomable six months ago, when it looked like a great season could propel Masterson into the $70 to $90 million contract range. Obligatory reminder: pitchers, man.

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