There isn't much specific Cubs news to lead this preview with; in searching around for something to talk about here, I came across this cool graphical look at MLB team payrolls since 1998, through the present day and including all future obligations for all MLB teams.
The Cubs rank, in order, starting in 1998: 11th, 10th, 13th, 13th, 11th, 10th, 5th, 7th, 7th, 8th, 6th, 3rd, 3rd, 6th, 17th and 14th.
According to the site, the multi-year salary obligations of the Cubs that carry over to 2014 are: Edwin Jackson, $13 million; Alfonso Soriano, $13 million; Starlin Castro, $5 million; Carlos Villanueva, $5 million; Kyuji Fujikawa, $5 million; and Anthony Rizzo, $1 million. That's $42 million for six players, only five of whom will actually be on the team next year.
Interesting to discuss, I thought. Have at it.
Castro SS, Rizzo 1B, Lake CF, Schierholtz RF, Murphy 3B, Bogusevic LF, Barney 2B, Castillo C, Arrieta P
Starlin Castro is just 4-for-13 this year hitting leadoff, but in his career hitting leadoff his line is .318/.361/.459 in 331 at-bats. Can't hurt to try it again.
Anthony Rizzo has never batted second in his MLB career -- not once. Again, what can it hurt to give it a shot?
Span CF, Zimmerman 3B, Harper LF, Werth RF, Desmond SS, LaRoche 1B, Lombardozzi 2B, Suzuki C, Ohlendorf P
Today's Starting Pitchers
|2013 - Jake Arrieta||2-2||7||7||0||0||0||0||36.2||29||20||20||3||22||32||4.91||1.39|
|2013 - Ross Ohlendorf||2-0||10||2||0||0||0||1||34.0||26||7||7||2||9||29||1.85||1.03|
As a member of the Orioles, Jake Arrieta faced the Nats twice last year. Good news! He threw well both times, with a combined 13 innings, allowing just two earned runs with 14 strikeouts and only two walks. A repeat of that sort of performance tonight, please.
Ross Ohlendorf has made just 10 appearances (two starts) this year and has been on the disabled list since August 1 with shoulder issues; he's being activated today for this start. His last start against the Cubs was August 7, 2012, while he was with the Padres. That was during a real down stretch for the Cubs, and as you can see, most of the Cubs who played in that game aren't on the team any more. (One familiar-looking thing is Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo both going 0-for-4.)
Today's game is on WGN.
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.