Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

wrigley stands crowdThere are standards by which tonight’s Cubs’ game was not going to matter.

The Cubs have clinched the best record in the National League, and, thus, outside of personal records and a sizable win total eclipsing 100, there is nothing left for this team to achieve in the regular season. The focus must be health and maintaining sharpness for the playoffs to come.

Saying that the game doesn’t matter now, though, feels hollow after Jose Fernandez’s death.

And I suppose I mean that in precisely the opposite way I would have thought. Jose Fernandez loved playing baseball, and it showed every time he took the field. The Marlins were mostly out of the Wild Card race when Fernandez twirled a gem this past week against the Nationals, and there’s no way he would have considered it a ballgame that didn’t matter. It was a ballgame to be played, and, thus, it mattered. There was fun to be had.

Tonight’s game is just a game, after all, but that’s exactly why it does matter. It is supposed to bring us the joy that we might not otherwise find as easily in our lives. So I’m going to hope that some wonderful things happen in the game, and I can find some reasons to smile. I won’t forget the sinking, sickening sadness I’ve felt all day, but then, that’s exactly why I should be doing something like watching baseball.


Game Info

Chicago Cubs (98-56) at St. Louis Cardinals (81-73) – 7:08 CT on ESPN, 670 The Score

Game Thread and Series Preview

Your game thread is down in the comments, so let’s have some good, clean (safe-for-work) fun.

The Series Preview lives hereThe Lineup Discussion lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Cubs: Jon Lester (L): 3.56 ERA, 4.40 FIP, 4.29 xFIP; 2.73 K/BB


Cardinals: Carlos Martinez (R): 1.03 ERA, 2.76 FIP, 4.06 xFIP; 2.22 K/BB

St. Louis Cardinals Lineup:

  1. Matt Carpenter, 2B
  2. Stephen Piscotty, RF
  3. Jhonny Peralta, 3B
  4. Brandon Moss, 1B
  5. Yadier Molina, C
  6. Jedd Gyorko, SS
  7. Randal Grichuk, CF
  8. Jose Martinez, LF
  9. Carlos Martinez, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup:

  1. Dexter Fowler, CF
  2. Kris Bryant, LF
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Ben Zobrist, 2B
  5. Addison Russell, SS
  6. Jason Heyward, RF
  7. Javy Baez, 3B
  8. David Ross, C
  9. Jon Lester, P

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