Never thought I'd write those words, but Ryne Sandberg, who put all his energy into getting a major-league managing job starting in 2007 and at last got one (though not the one many Cubs fans hoped he would) last September, and now has a three-year deal to manage... a really bad Phillies team. They start tonight with the second-worst record in the National League, a beat-up pitching staff and five of their starting eight players age 34 or older, only one of whom (Chase Utley) is having any semblance of a decent season.
Ryno's on a three-year deal to manage the Phillies, but it wouldn't surprise me if his GM is fired later this year, which could put everything up for grabs in Philadelphia. The Phillies, as the Cubs did in 2010 and 2011, have put all their proverbial eggs in the basket of having one last gasp at a division title. It's not working out, and with all their key players getting older (and under big-money contracts), the Phillies could be looking at several years of rebuilding.
Say, maybe just about the time the Cubs are ready to contend again, Ryno might be available... just saying. youneverknow.
If you haven't already checked out Russ La Croix' series preview, now is the time!
Finally, one more note about tonight's game:
From Cubs notes: The Phillies are celebrating 60’s Retro Night, and Cubs and Phillies tonight will wear 1964 retro uniforms— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) June 13, 2014
That ought to be cool. Glad the Cubs are participating; this will be the first time this year they've worn throwbacks on the road. They are 1-3 in home throwbacks so far this season.
Oh, and guess what? There's a pretty good chance of rain and thunderstorms in Philadelphia tonight, as if the Cubs haven't seen enough of that the last two days.
Coghlan LF, Sweeney CF, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Valbuena 3B, Schierholtz RF, Baker C, Barney 2B, Arrieta P
Gwynn CF, Rollins SS, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Byrd RF, Brown LF, Ruiz C, Brignac 3B, Hernandez P
Reid Brignac is a cautionary tale for prospect rankings. He was a top-100 prospect four straight years (2007-2010), as high as No. 17 one year, yet has never been anything more than a marginal major leaguer. At 28, he still has a shot at becoming a decent utility player, but likely nothing more.
Today's Starting Pitchers
Jake Arrieta missed the opening series against the Phillies, as he was on the DL. He did face them September 1, 2013 at Wrigley and allowed just three hits and one run in 6⅔ innings. Current Phillies are just 4-for-25 against him, and Arrieta is coming off his best start of 2014. This ought to be a low-scoring game.
Just as a reminder, this Roberto Hernandez is The Pitcher Formerly Known As Fausto Carmona. He started on Opening Day at Wrigley, April 4, and didn't pitch very well, but the Phillies won anyway. Since then he's bounced in and out of the Phillies' rotation and has been mostly mediocre. Current Cubs, though, are hitting a small-sample-size .140 (6-for-43) against him with no home runs. Considering the Cubs are averaging 3.6 runs per game on the road (as opposed to 4.1 runs per game at home), this does not bode well.
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.