Chicago Cubs vs. Philadelphia Phillies Preview, Saturday 4/28, 6:05 CT

Starlin Castro of the Chicago Cubs arrives safely at second after stealing a base against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)

Here's an interesting article from the Sun-Times about the possibility of Cole Hamels -- the only Phillies starter the Cubs won't face in this series -- becoming a Cub next offseason via free agency. Hamels said a lot of nice things about the Cubs, about Theo Epstein, and the possibilities of playing in Chicago. A lot more, in fact, than any player approaching free agency usually does say, or probably should say. And then he said this, regarding possible Wrigley renovations:

"That right there will impact players," said Hamels, who suggested the promise of renovations would increase his interest in the Cubs, "because we’ve all played there and realize how brutal the facilities are. I don’t think fans know how much time we spend in the clubhouse and how much time we spend at the field. And when you don’t have adequate equipment or facilities — you want to know that they’re trying to make it comfortable for you because you’re at the field more than you’re at home.

"You’ve got to make it nice, because if you do, players are going to want to be there. They’re going to want to come to the organization. You’re going to have players that would think on the lines of, ‘Hey, do I go to a Yankees organization that has all the money and great facilities, or do I go to the Cubs, who are finally building the good stuff.’ And I think that’s where you can finally get the top players.

"As a fan [Wrigley Field] is one of the coolest stadiums I’ve ever been to. As a player, it’s one of the worst. So if they can change that over, then they’re going to get a lot of great players to come there."

There's no question that Hamels is right about player facilities at Wrigley. That should be the top priority for management when allocating whatever dollars they do wind up having for renovations. Fan amenities are great, but a winning team is more important.

Cubs lineup:

DeJesus rf, Barney 2b, Castro ss, LaHair 1b, Soriano lf, Stewart 3b, Johnson cf, Castillo c, Wells p

In case you missed it earlier, Steve Clevenger was DL'd today with an oblique problem he suffered during batting practice Friday and Welington Castillo was recalled. Geovany Soto was in the original starting lineup for tonight, but he's now got minor upper back tightness, so Castillo will start.

Phillies lineup:

Rollins SS, Polanco 3B, Pence RF, Thome 1B, Victorino CF, Nix LF, Ruiz C, Orr 2B, Blanton P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Randy Wells
Randy Wells
Cubs
vs. Joe Blanton
Joe Blanton
Phillies
0-0 W-L 1-3
3.60 ERA 4.34
2 SO 7
5 BB 3
0 HR 1
vs. Phi -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Randy Wells 0-0 1 1 0 0 0 0 5.0 6 2 2 0 5 2 3.60 2.20


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Joe Blanton 1-3 4 3 0 0 0 0 18.2 23 12 9 1 3 7 4.34 1.39

Randy Wells wasn't very good in his first start, but then, he managed to get through it allowing only two runs in five innings, despite the five walks. His last start against the Phillies wasn't very good, either; on June 9, 2011 in Philadelphia he was yanked in the third inning after giving up a three-run homer to Jimmy Rollins. Here's hoping for a better performance tonight.

Joe Blanton has not faced the Cubs since July 16, 2010 at Wrigley Field; he gave up three runs in seven innings but the Cubs won the game. Less than two years later, only four Cubs (three position players, one pitcher) who played in that game are still on the team. Current Cubs are 17-for-58 against Blanton (.293) with one home run (Reed Johnson, which is probably why Reed is getting the start tonight; overall he's 5-for-12 with two doubles and the HR against Blanton).

Today's game is on WGN. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Phillies site The Good Phight.

Today's first pitch thread will post at 6:05 p.m. CDT and the overflows at 7:05, 8:05 and 8:50 p.m. 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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