Cubs vs. Nationals Preview, Friday 7/4, 10:05 a.m. CT

Darwin Barney takes a throw and makes the play even though he wasn't covering second base. - Jim Rogash

The Cubs are 3-0 on the current road trip and hope to extend that mark as they take on the Nats in Washington in a game that begins pretty early in the day, even if you're in Eastern time.

This game preview is up a bit closer to game time (one hour instead of the usual two hours before) because, well, really -- were you up at 8 a.m. CT on a holiday waiting for it? (C'mon, no you weren't. And if you were, I hope you were reading Russ La Croix' series preview.)

As you know if you read Cubs Wrigley Field Game Times Through History here last year, you know that it's been a very rare occasion when the Cubs have played a game with a starting time before noon Chicago time. There were some split morning/afternoon doubleheaders (early game at 10:30 a.m.) from 1927-31 and a couple of 1943 games at 11 a.m. to get war shift workers to the park.

I remember a handful of holiday doubleheaders the Cubs played in Pittsburgh in the early 1970s that started at 10:30 a.m. Eastern time, 9:30 a.m. in Chicago. Here are the boxscores from one such DH on Labor Day 1970. I believe those were scheduled in order to allow people to see two games and still have holiday dinners with their families. But since then, I can't recall the Cubs playing any game that started before noon local time in any city in which they've played.

That will change today, as the Cubs and Nationals take the field at 11:05 a.m. ET, 10:05 a.m. in Chicago, probably also so that people in Washington can see a full game and still have the late afternoon and evening for holiday festivities. If you're on the West Coast, this really is baseball with breakfast -- 8:05 a.m. PT. For BCBers in Europe, and I know we have some who are faithful viewers and readers here, you finally get to watch the Cubs play when it's still daylight over there -- 4:05 p.m. in England, 5:05 p.m. on the European continent, if I've read my time zones correctly.

Here are the particulars for your holiday morning ballgame.

Cubs lineup:

Coghlan LF, Ruggiano CF, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Valbuena 3B, Schierholtz RF, Baker C, Barney 2B, Hammel P

Nationals lineup:

Span CF, Harper LF, Werth RF, LaRoche 1B, Zimmerman 3B, Rendon 2B, Desmond SS, Ramos C, Roark P

Today's Starting Pitchers

Jason Hammel

Jason Hammel


Cubs

vs. Tanner Roark

Tanner Roark


Nationals

vs. Was

--

vs. Cubs

It was pointed out on Wednesday evening's telecast that Jason Hammel and Tanner Roark have identical W/L records (7-5) and ERAs (2.98) going into today's game. That's a curiosity, nothing more.

This is a pitching rematch of the game June 27 at Wrigley Field. The Cubs hit Roark pretty hard, getting 10 hits and four runs off him in six innings. Hammel gave up a home run to Adam LaRoche, but just one other run in 6⅔ innings himself, and the Cubs won the game, one of the pair of games they won in that series, which wound up as a split.

Today's game is on WGN. In some parts of the USA this game is available on MLB Network.

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 Nationals site Federal Baseball.

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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