Kansas City, MO, USA; National League infielder Starlin Castro of the Chicago Cubs before the 2012 MLB All Star Game at Kauffman Stadium. Credit: Peter G. Aiken/USA TODAY Sports via US PRESSWIRE
Welcome back to the 2012 season. Seems like a while since there's been baseball, doesn't it? It's resuming on Friday the 13th, too, for those of you who are interested in such things. Now, on to today's game and other matters.
The dichotomy between Cubs games against the Diamondbacks in Arizona, and identical matchups in Chicago, is striking. There have been 52 such games at Chase Field (formerly Bank One Ballpark), 53 at Wrigley Field.
The D'backs lead the all-time series, since 1998, 59 wins to 46. The Cubs are a bad 20-32 in Arizona, including being swept there last month -- but nearly .500, 26-27, against the D'backs when they come to Wrigley, and they're 8-4 against Arizona at home since 2008.
Arizona sneaked back on to the fringes of contention with a 16-10 June, then lost six in a row, but swept the Dodgers just before the All-Star break. So both teams come into the second half on an upswing. (Of course, the Cubs almost couldn't go anywhere but up.)
Most-interesting storyline to begin this second half about actual current events: can Anthony Rizzo continue his hot start with the Cubs. Most-interesting storyline about future events: who on the current roster will be playing somewhere else by the end of the month?
DeJesus CF, Castro SS, Rizzo 1B, Soriano LF, LaHair RF, Soto C, Barney 2B, Valbuena 3B, Maholm P
Bloomquist 3B, Hill 2B, Upton RF, Kubel LF, Goldschmidt 1B, Montero C, Young CF, Drew SS, Kennedy P
|Today's Starting Pitchers|
|2012 - Paul Maholm||6-6||16||16||0||0||0||0||89.2||94||47||46||11||27||60||4.62||1.35|
|2012 - Ian Kennedy||6-7||17||17||1||0||0||0||107.2||120||54||51||12||23||95||4.26||1.33|
This game is a pitching rematch of the game June 23 in Phoenix. Truth be told, neither pitcher threw very well that day; Paul Maholm got pounded and didn't get out of the third inning and Ian Kennedy never made it out of the fifth. Maholm did hit his first home run of the season -- the only home run by a Cubs pitcher this year -- off Kennedy, for whatever that's worth.
Since that day, Maholm's been lights-out in two starts and a relief appearance (0.59 ERA in 15⅓ innings). Kennedy, who isn't having nearly the year he had in 2011 when he got some Cy Young consideration, has made two decent starts since June 23, posting a 3.21 ERA in 14 innings.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago.
Today's first pitch thread will post at 1:20 p.m. CDT and the overflows at 2:20, 3:20 and 4:05 p.m. CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.
Discuss amongst yourselves.