Cubs vs. Angels Preview, Wednesday 7/10, 7:05 CT: Bye-Bye, Interleague

USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs go for a sweep of this brief two-game set Wednesday night, and say goodbye to A.L. teams until 2014.

This is the Cubs' final interleague game of 2013. They will become the first team to complete its interleague schedule for this year (the Twins would have been first, but they have one rained-out game to make up with the Mets, next month). So far, the Cubs are 13-6 in interleague play and have outscored American League opponents 113-63. (That translates to an average win of 6-3.) If they can win tonight's game, they will have won the season series from five of the six A.L. opponents, losing only to the Athletics. The home-road split for interleague, entering today: 7-2 at home, 6-4 away from Wrigley.

At some point the Cubs will have to figure out how to translate this performance into defeating National League Central teams, against whom they are 13-26 so far this year. You could say the Cubs have beaten up on bad teams, but they are 3-3 against the two good teams in the A.L. West (Rangers and A's), 10-3 against the four other A.L. teams they have played. Many good teams pile up tons of wins against bad teams.

Winning is good, no matter how you do it. The Cubs can match their season-high winning streak (five) if they can win tonight.

Alfonso Soriano now has 387 home runs, good for 58th on the all-time list. Next up:

51. Andres Galarraga, 399
51. Al Kaline, 399
53. Dale Murphy, 398
54. Joe Carter, 396
55. Jim Edmonds, 393
56. Graig Nettles, 390
57. Johnny Bench, 389

Cubs lineup:

Sappelt RF, Ransom 3B, Rizzo 1B, Soriano LF, Castro SS, Barney 2B, Castillo C, Borbon CF, Samardzija P

OBP in the leadoff spot this year:

Starlin Castro .357
Darwin Barney .276
Julio Borbon .242
Dave Sappelt .214

Please explain to me why Castro isn't leading off tonight. Or even Cody Ransom, for heaven's sake.

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

Today's Starting Pitchers

Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija


Cubs

vs. C.J. Wilson

C.J. Wilson


Angels

vs. LAA

--

vs. Cubs


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Jeff Samardzija 5-8 18 18 1 1 0 0 119.1 108 52 47 10 42 123 3.54 1.26


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - C.J. Wilson 8-6 18 18 0 0 0 0 113.1 109 54 44 9 47 104 3.49 1.38

Jeff Samardzija has never faced the Angels. Of course, he has faced Albert Pujols numerous times, with not-good results: 5-for-12, a double, two home runs, three walks. Shark had a rough outing last weekend against the Pirates; otherwise he's been pretty consistent this year. Recipe for success: stay away from Pujols.

C.J. Wilson has one career start against the Cubs, May 23, 2010 while he was with the Rangers (lineup mostly for amusement value, although Alfonso Soriano homered off Wilson that day). Wilson's numbers and game logs this year are remarkably similar to Samardzija's; many good ones, a few glitchy starts, overall numbers almost the same. (Note: Cubs have similar production for a lot less money.)

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 Angels site Halos Heaven.

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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