The Giants have the best record in baseball and just got finished sweeping the Twins (who are a better team than the Cubs), allowing just four runs in the three-game series. The Giants also have the second-best home record in baseball and the Cubs have the second-worst road mark.
And you're expecting the Cubs to win even one game in this series? (I'm not.) Let's look at some other numbers before we decide for sure.
The Giants are fourth in the league in runs scored (and just four behind the Dodgers for third). The Cubs rank 11th.
The Giants are third in the league in fewest runs allowed. The Cubs rank a surprisingly-decent eighth (and just one run behind the Nationals for seventh).
So, I'd expect a low-scoring, close series, just like last year's, when the Cubs swept the Giants in three straight one-run games. It could very easily go the other way this year. If the Cubs win one game I'll consider this series a success. Once again I commend you to Russ La Croix' series preview for more numbers and info.
And, please keep careful track of game times for this series, as all three are different -- today at 3:05 CT, tomorrow at 9:15 CT, and Wednesday at 12:45 CT.
Bonifacio CF, Lake LF, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Valbuena 3B, Castillo C, Schierholtz RF, Barney 2B, Samardzija P
Pagan CF, Pence RF, Posey 1B, Sandoval 3B, Morse LF, Sanchez C, Crawford SS, Hicks 2B, Petit P
Today's Starting Pitchers
You all know about Shark's unlucky season so I won't belabor the point. Eventually, it has to end, right?
Shark has little experience against the Giants; he last faced them April 13, 2013 at Wrigley Field, a decent outing, and hasn't pitched in AT&T Park since June 4, 2012, a slightly less-decent start in which he walked five. (Check out who the Giants' leadoff hitter was that day.)
This one isn't gonna be easy. Even giving up one run could cause another loss. Good luck, Shark.
The Cubs caught a break with this game -- maybe. Matt Cain, who always seems to dominate the Cubs, will miss this scheduled start with a minor hamstring issue. Yusmeiro Petit has filled in three times for Cain already this year; this will be the fourth. He's got one good start, one mediocre one and one bad one. Which category will this fit into? Only four members of the current Cubs roster have ever faced him, and one of them (John Baker) won't play today. The others are a combined 1-for-7; the one hit is a triple by Emilio Bonifacio.
In short, we look doomed.
Today's game is on WGN.
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.