Chicago Cubs vs. Kansas City Royals Preview, Friday 6/24, 7:10 CT: A Rare Matchup

This is a Kansas City Royals player. He is smiling. No, I don't know why either. Since the Cubs haven't played the Royals in some time, I thought I'd post this as a public service so you can identify the team the Cubs are playing tonight. Doesn't really matter who it is, but if you care, it's Melky Cabrera. (Photo by G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY -- The Cubs and Royals played every year from 1997 to 2001, the first five years of interleague play, when teams played only their "matching" division from the other league. Three of those series (1997, 1999, 2001) were at Wrigley Field, two (1998, 2000) were in Kansas City. The Cubs won nine of the 15 games, sweeping in 1997, losing two of three in 1998 and 1999, and winning two of three in 2000 and 2001.

The last game played between the two teams was on July 17, 2001, almost 10 years ago. The Cubs won 7-4; the only players who played in that game who are still in the major leagues are Carlos Beltran, Corey Patterson and Raul Ibanez.

The last game played between the two teams in Kansas City was on July 18, 2000. The Royals won 12-4; the only player who played in that game who is still active is Johnny Damon. (Much amusement value, incidentally, in the Cubs' lineup and pitchers that day.)

Hope to see some BCBers at the game tonight. I will be in section 113, row X.

The Cubs and Royals are both 7-14 this month, pretty bad. But the Cubs have done fairly well over the last 10 games, despite their 5-5 record over that span, and the Royals 3-7 over that same time period, riding a five-game losing streak. Perhaps that elusive three-game win streak will be ours this weekend.

Cubs lineup:

Fukudome CF, Castro SS, Ramirez 3B, Baker DH, Soto C, Peña 1B, Soriano LF, Montañez RF, LeMahieu 2B

Royals lineup:

Cabrera CF, Hosmer 1B, Butler DH, Gordon LF, Francoeur RF, Moustakas 3B, Pena C, Escobar SS, Getz 2B
Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster
vs. Bruce Chen
Bruce Chen
5-6 W-L 4-1
5.46 ERA 3.59
88 SO 24
36 BB 14
13 HR 7
vs. KC -- vs. Cubs

2011 - Ryan Dempster 5-6 17 16 0 0 0 0 92.1 101 57 56 13 36 88 5.46 1.48

2011 - Bruce Chen 4-1 7 7 1 0 0 0 42.2 43 18 17 7 14 24 3.59 1.34

Ryan Dempster's only career start vs. the Royals was on June 12, 2002 when he was still with the Marlins. That was so long ago that Tim Raines played in that game -- that's Tim Raines SENIOR, in his final major league season at age 42. He has faced a number of current Royals, notably Jeff Francoeur (5-for-12, three doubles).

Bruce Chen? I had no idea he was still in the major leagues. He's been on the DL since May 6 with a lat strain. He hasn't faced the Cubs since a couple of relief appearances with the Reds in September 2002. Aramis Ramirez is 6-for-10 against him lifetime, but all of those games were in 2002 or earlier (2002 being a theme today, apparently). The bottom line is, who knows? Chen was having a pretty good year before he got hurt. The Cubs have done reasonably well against lefthanders this season.

Today's game is on WGN and FSN Kansas City. Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Royals site Royals Review.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 7 pm CDT and the overflow threads will post at 8 pm, 9 pm and 9:45 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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