Cubs vs. Phillies Preview, Sunday 4/6, 1:20 CT

Jonathan Daniel

The Cubs will attempt to avoid a sweep at the hands of Ryne Sandberg's Phillies.

For the second straight series, the Cubs need to win the third game in order to avoid being swept.

Some numbers from this very early season: the Cubs are tied for last in the major leagues in runs scored with the Padres: eight. They do have three home runs among those eight runs, and five teams have fewer, including the Royals and Yankees, who have none.

The pitching side has been a bit better. The 16 runs the Cubs have allowed is tied for eighth-best with the Rays. The Diamondbacks bring up the rear with 54 (!) runs allowed in eight games, which is 21 more than anyone else has given up.

Clearly, these are extremely small sample sizes. It would be nice if the runs-scored total and ranking would start increasing. It's supposed to be warmer at Wrigley Sunday afternoon -- perhaps in the 50s -- and maybe that will help get hitters untracked.

Unrelated to all of that, and already posted in the FanShots, I thought you would enjoy this Deadspin article about the guy who walks around Wrigley wearing a bear costume. He got into an altercation at an area bar after Saturday's game. If you read the article linked in the "Update" portion of Deadspin's article, you'll find that this "mascot" is not a nice person. The Cubs and MLB would like him to cease and desist. I agree.

Cubs lineup:

Bonifacio 2B, Kalish LF, Rizzo 1B, Schierholtz RF, Valbuena 3B, Castro SS, Sweeney CF, Baker C, Villanueva P

A few changes to today's lineup. Why not? Can't hurt.

Phillies lineup:

Revere CF, Rollins SS, Utley 2B, Howard 1B,  Byrd RF, Brown LF, Ruiz C, Asche 3B, Burnett P

Today's Starting Pitchers

Carlos Villanueva

Carlos Villanueva


Cubs

vs. A.J. Burnett

A.J. Burnett


Phillies

vs. Phi

--

vs. Cubs

I thought you would enjoy these photos. Carlos Villanueva has the best mustache in the major leagues, and A.J. Burnett wanted to remind the photographer exactly who he is.

Speaking of small sample sizes, Villanueva made one relief appearance against the Phillies last year; that doesn't tell us much. Current Phillies are 12-for-52 (.231) against him; that doesn't tell us much either. Carlos' two relief appearances against the Pirates resulted in two defeats. Small Sample Size again!

A.J. Burnett loves to throw against the Cubs. He nearly threw a no-hitter at Wrigley Field July 31, 2012, (thank you, Adrian Cardenas, wherever you are) and posted a 2.84 ERA and 1.00 WHIP against the Cubs last year in three starts (19 innings, 18 strikeouts). Looks like doom ahead to me.

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 Phillies site The Good Phight.

For 2014, we are going to have the same game-thread routine as 2013. Here's how it works.

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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