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Reds Vs. Cubs Preview: Germano To Face Division Leaders

Justin Germano and the Cubs will take their first stab Tuesday at pushing Cincinnati's division clincher out of Wrigley Field.

HOUSTON,TX - SEPTEMBER 11: Justin Germano #41 of the Chicago Cubs pitches against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on September 11, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON,TX - SEPTEMBER 11: Justin Germano #41 of the Chicago Cubs pitches against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on September 11, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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The Chicago Cubs are tasked with delaying the Cincinnati Reds' clinching of the National League Central in a series that starts at 7:05 p.m. CT Tuesday night in Chicago.

The Reds' magic number to clinch the division title, which they won last in 2010, is five. Given the Reds' and St. Louis Cardinals' schedules, the earliest the Reds could clinch would be Thursday in Chicago. But that would require a Reds' sweep at Wrigley Field and at least two Cardinals' losses at home against the Houston Astros.

Justin Germano will head to the mound to try to keep Cincinnati's celebration out of the Friendly Confines. Germano has thrown 54 innings in the majors this season between Chicago and the Boston Red Sox, and he has an ERA of 5.60 in those 11 appearances.

He gave up three hits and one run in five innings with eight strikeouts his last time out, against the Astros, but Houston got to the Cubs' bullpen and won, 7-2.

Reds starter Homer Bailey is riding a streak of good starts heading into Tuesday. He's allowed two or fewer runs in four of his last five starts, and he's pitched at least six innings in all of those starts. He gave up four runs in 5innings in his last start against the Cubs, a 10-7 Reds win on Aug. 10.

For more on the Cubs, be sure to visit Bleed Cubbie Blue. Additional coverage on the Reds can be found at Red Reporter. And Baseball Nation is the place to go for news and analysis from around the league.