Cubs vs. Astros Preview, Sunday 6/23, 1:20 CT: Clever Headline Goes Here

David Banks

After Saturday's dull game with bad managing and worse umpiring, just about anything would be an improvement.

No, I didn't forget to remove "Clever Headline Goes Here." It's just that I don't have one to describe this game, which you will probably forget the moment the result is in.

I did want to say a few more things about replay review, which I've written about so many times I don't even have time to dig up all the links to put here. I re-watched the two horrific calls made in the eighth inning against the Cubs Saturday. The tag play on Alfonso Soriano was close enough that I could see how an umpire might have missed it; he wasn't in good position, and that might have been the issue.

The 3-1 pitch that should have been ball four to Darwin Barney... well, that was more egregiously wrong. Pitch wasn't even close to the zone. While in my previous writings about replay review, I've said balls and strikes should be exempted... calls like this make me wonder about that, too.

The bottom line is this: I can write about how this should have been done four years ago, and that won't change anything now; it simply isn't going to happen this year, even though it should. However, if review is not implemented in some form for the beginning of the 2014 season, baseball's leaders are shirking their duty. Period. It's way past time to get this done. The results of the games should reflect what the players actually do on the field, not what one guy in a blue shirt thinks they did.

Cubs lineup:

Valbuena 3B, Castro SS, Schierholtz RF, Soriano LF, Rizzo 1B, Sweeney CF, Castillo C, Barney 2B, Samardzija P

Starlin Castro held hostage in the starting lineup, Day 74. If this keeps up, we might have to get Ted Koppel involved.

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

Today's Starting Pitchers

Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija


Cubs

vs. Jordan Lyles

Jordan Lyles


Astros

vs. Hou

--

vs. Cubs


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Jeff Samardzija 4-7 15 15 1 1 0 0 99.1 84 41 37 9 34 110 3.35 1.19


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Jordan Lyles 4-1 10 10 0 0 0 0 58.2 59 22 21 5 16 46 3.22 1.28

The last time Jeff Samardzija faced the Astros, August 13, 2012 at Wrigley Field, he allowed just one run in seven innings, with 11 strikeouts. Of course, that was in the middle of a stretch where Houston went 8-49. They're better than that now. Shark has had a bit of a rough stretch, but his last start was excellent. Hope that continues.

Jordan Lyles is a perfect example of a pitcher who was called up probably too young (20 years old when he made his MLB debut against the Cubs at Wrigley Field two years ago). He's improved markedly this year, and has a 1.59 ERA in his last six starts covering 39⅔ innings. Current Cubs are a small-sample-size 5-for-29 against him. Clearly, we are... well, you know.

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 Astros site The Crawfish Boxes.

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.

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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