busch stadiumThe Cubs have a chance to put a serious dent in the Cardinals’ Central Division lead this week. We can put questions of “will it be enough?” or “will it help the Pirates more than the Cubs?” off for another day. Today is a day the Cubs can help themselves with a win. Full stop.

It’s also a day the Cubs can show themselves a little something by playing well in St. Louis against one of the Cardinals’ best pitchers on the mound. I won’t be presumptuous enough to say I know the emotional ramifications of winning games in St. Louis this week, but I’ve got to assume it would feel really good for a young team to see that they can do it in the heat of a pennant race in September.

They’ll have a couple extra arms available in the bullpen, as Carl Edwards, Jr. (discussed earlier) and Zac Rosscup have joined the staff. Dan Haren’s job is to keep the Cubs in the game for at least five innings. He’s coming off his best start with the Cubs, so maybe he figured a little something out.

The Cubs load up on lefties at the top of the lineup, as they’ve had the best success against Lance Lynn this year. Because Kyle Schwarber is still out, Starlin Castro is the righty who – indirectly by way of position shuffling – gets the fill-in this time around. He’s been swinging a much better bat of late.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (78-57) at St. Louis Cardinals (87-49), 1:15 CT on WGN-9 (or your local affiliate), and on MLB.tv.

Game Thread and Series Preview

Your game thread is down there in the comments, so have fun.

The Series Preview lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Dan Haren (3.89 ERA, 4.91 FIP, 4.68 xFIP; 3.50 K/BB)


Lance Lynn (2.80 ERA, 3.28 FIP, 3.78 xFIP; 2.79 K/BB)

St. Louis Cardinals Lineup

1. Matt Carpenter, 2B

2. Stephen Piscotty, LF

3. Jason Heyward, RF

4. Jhonny Peralta, SS

5. Brandon Moss, 1B

6. Yadier Molina, C

7. Jon Jay, CF

8. Mark Reynolds, 3B

9. Lance Lynn, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Dexter Fowler, CF

2. Tommy La Stella, 3B

3. Chris Coghlan, LF

4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

5. Kris Bryant, RF

6. Miguel Montero, C

7. Starlin Castro, 2B

8. Dan Haren, P

9. Addison Russell, SS