Cubs vs. Giants Preview, Friday 4/12, 1:20 CT: Stop The Rain. Please.

Brian Kersey

The Cubs will try to even their weekend series against the Giants on another day forecast to be cold and damp.

The good news is that the steady mist/drizzle that fell all afternoon Thursday has stopped.

The bad news is that it's colder -- temperatures might not be much above 40 most of the afternoon -- and more light showers might dot the Chicago area this afternoon. In fact, if you look at that link, it doesn't appear that the weather's going to clear out for the rest of this homestand; the only "break" is that it might be a little warmer Sunday. I know we've had bad baseball weather this time of year in Chicago before, but I can't remember having an entire 10-game (now nine, due to the rainout) homestand have weather this bad for every single game. Only Opening Day was decent.

Nevertheless, as is often said, both teams have to play in the same conditions. And so they shall.

One bit of good news: Darwin Barney should be back Tuesday:

Barney will play in games in Iowa from Saturday through Monday. He is eligible to come off the disabled list on Monday, but the Cubs are off that day. They begin a three-game series against the Rangers on Tuesday.

"I'm ready to get going," Barney said. "Definitely ready to go. Get some at-bats under my belt and come back and try to make an impact."

I'm assuming Barney is being sent to Iowa to rehab because Kane County is spending the weekend at Wisconsin (Appleton), where the weather's likely to be even more dismal than it is in Chicago (the teams were postponed Thursday and it looks like they'll be snowed out tonight as well). Des Moines weather this weekend isn't going to be great, but at least they'll play.

Cubs lineup:

DeJesus CF, Castro SS, Rizzo 1B, Soriano LF, Schierholtz RF, Castillo C, Clevenger 3B, Valbuena 2B, Villanueva P

Giants lineup:

Pagan CF, Scutaro 2B, Sandoval 3B, Posey C, Pence RF, Belt 1B, Blanco LF, Crawford SS, Cain P

Steve Clevenger at third base. Well, that's why he's on the team. Give it a shot. Why not? Maybe he'll do OK defensively and hit. Certainly worth a try. Clevenger played four games at third base (as well as 63 games at second base) in the minor leagues and a couple of times at spring training this year.

The Giants lineup was not in at the time I wrote this post; check the BCB Twitter feed for the Giants lineup.

Today's Starting Pitchers

Carlos Villanueva

Carlos Villanueva


Cubs

vs. Matt Cain

Matt Cain


Giants

vs. SF

--

vs. Cubs


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Carlos Villanueva 0-0 1 1 0 0 0 0 6.2 6 1 1 1 2 6 1.35 1.20


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Matt Cain 0-1 2 2 0 0 0 0 9.2 11 9 9 0 3 10 8.38 1.45

This is a puzzle. Carlos Villanueva has 12 career relief appearances and one career start against the Giants. The start was in 2008, so that's not really helpful. The only current Giants player who has more than four at-bats against him is Hunter Pence (7-for-21, one home run). About all we can hope for is for Villanueva to throw as well as he did in his first start this year, because he's facing...

Matt Cain, who was one of the best pitchers in the National League last year. On the other hand, Cubs hitters hit him pretty well last September 2 at Wrigley Field, including a home run by Alfonso Soriano. Plus, Cain's been hit pretty hard in his two starts so far this year (9⅔ innings, 11 hits, nine earned runs). Current Cubs, though, are hitting just .214 against Cain (24-for-112) and it's going to be cold, not a hitter's day. In short, who knows?

Today's game is on CSN Chicago.

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 Giants site McCovey Chronicles.

Here's the scoop on game threads for 2013. You'll find the game preview -- like this one -- posting as the first link in the StoryStream™, which will then contain all the overflow threads and the recap. The recap will also be on the front page as a separate post; once I post a game recap, the stream for each game will be retitled "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.

In general, game previews will post two hours before game time. Exception: for day games after night games, that will usually be 90 minutes.

As has been the case during spring training, you will also be able to find the First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in this StoryStream™. As I've done for each regular-season game for several years now, we'll have the First Pitch thread at five minutes before game time (moved up from actual game time per your requests), then an overflow one hour, two hours and 2:45 after game time.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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