The Cubs generally don't do very well on West Coast trips. This has been the case ever since baseball came to the West Coast in 1958. In recent years it's been dismal.
Now, this number is a bit skewed because with the way the schedule's been recently, the Cubs don't always play two consecutive series in California -- they'll sometimes go from a California series to St. Louis, or to Arizona.
But this trip, they're playing seven straight games in California, four in San Diego and three in San Francisco.
They have won three games on this trip through the Golden State. The last time a Cubs team won four games on a trip through California that lasted at least this long was June 2008, when they took four of seven from the Dodgers and Padres (two of three in San Diego, a split in Los Angeles). Obviously, the 2008 Cubs were a lot better team than this year's version.
But a win tonight would equal that mark and win this series. It won't be easy, as shown below. Who knows, though? Because baseball.
And, after tonight, the Cubs will have just two more "late-night" games this year (defined as anything that starts after 8:30 p.m. CT) -- July 18 at Arizona and August 1 at Los Angeles. This sleep-deprived writer thanks the schedulers for that.
Bonifacio CF, Ruggiano LF, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Valbuena 2B, Castillo C, Schierholtz RF, Olt 3B, Arrieta P
It's Justin Ruggiano's first start since he was injured in the 100th-anniversary game April 23. Note that he's starting vs. a tough RHP.
Pagan CF, Pence RF, Posey C, Sandoval 3B, Morse 1B, Colvin LF, Crawford SS, Adrianza 2B, Hudson P
Tyler Colvin. Well, there's a blast from the past. Colvin is 11-for-38 with the Giants (.289/.341/.579) with one home run and 14 strikeouts.
Today's Starting Pitchers
Jake Arrieta, after three mediocre outings, had a solid start his last time out against the Padres. Very few current Giants have ever faced him: 2-for-14 combined. It's likely to be a cool San Francisco night, which usually favors pitchers. Perhaps we'll have an old-fashioned pitchers' duel.
Last season, Tim Hudson suffered a gruesome ankle injury that, at age 37, appeared to be a career-ender. Instead, he signed a free-agent contract with the Giants and is off to one of the best starts of his career. Congrats to Hudson for coming back. He last faced the Cubs April 7, 2013, where he pitched well, and he's walked just six in 63⅓ innings so far this year. Current Cubs, though, are hitting .338 (26-for-77) against him with one home run (Nate Schierholtz), so there's that. This will be tough.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago.
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.