Chicago Cubs vs. Houston Astros Preview, Wednesday 8/15, 1:20 CT

Write your own caption: Darwin Barney of the Chicago Cubs tags out Tyler Greene of the Houston Astros at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

You likely know that the Cubs promoted this year's No. 1 draft pick, Albert Almora, to Boise after just 18 games in the Arizona Rookie League, in which he hit .347.

Here's something you might not know about him, via's Patrick Mooney:

With Almora, it’s probably worth mentioning that his cousin is Manny Machado, the third overall pick in the 2010 draft. The 20-year-old Machado gave the Baltimore Orioles a jolt and was just named the American League’s co-player of the week along with Boston Red Sox slugger Adrian Gonzalez after making his big-league debut.

That's pretty good family company; here's hoping some of the good genes Machado has have been shared with Almora. Machado was Baltimore's No. 1 pick (third overall) just two years ago; he rocketed through the Orioles system and was in the major leagues after playing just 219 minor-league games. Don't rush Almora if he's not ready... but who knows, maybe he will be.

There. That's a lot more fun than talking about the two Triple-A teams that will be taking the field at Wrigley this afternoon:

Cubs lineup:

DeJesus RF, Vitters 3B, Rizzo 1B, Soriano LF, Castro SS, Valbuena 2B, Jackson CF, Clevenger C, Germano P

Astros lineup was not available at the time I wrote this post. Check the BCB Twitter feed for the Astros lineup.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Justin Germano
Justin Germano
vs. Bud Norris
Bud Norris
1-2 W-L 5-9
4.26 ERA 4.93
9 SO 125
4 BB 50
1 HR 16
vs. Hou -- vs. Cubs

2012 - Justin Germano 1-2 4 3 0 0 0 0 19.0 19 11 9 1 4 9 4.26 1.21

2012 - Bud Norris 5-9 22 21 0 0 0 0 122.1 123 70 67 16 50 125 4.93 1.41

Justin Germano has made two career starts vs. Astros teams, but that's irrelevant because they were in 2007 and 2008 and there's no one on this year's Houston team who was even born then. Wait, that's not right. Still, the only Astros player he's ever faced is Chris Snyder (2-for-5). In short, who knows what we'll get today?

Bud Norris, on the other hand, has made two starts against the Cubs this year, winning one in Houston and losing one at Wrigley Field. A lot of those guys aren't on the Cubs any more; current Cubs are 20-for-70 (.286) against Norris. Alfonso Soriano (twice), Luis Valbuena and Steve Clevenger have homered off him. Dale Sveum must be playing matchups, because both are in the lineup today, with Valbuena at 2B, a position he has not started a game at yet for the Cubs.

Today's game is on WGN.

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Astros site The Crawfish Boxes.

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. Also please note: due to some under-the-hood changes, the sidebar box with the game thread links is no longer available. It seems you've found them with no problems, but if you haven't been able to find the overflow threads, click the "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" link under "Sections" on the left sidebar. They're all in there.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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