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Chicago Cubs vs. Arizona Diamondbacks Preview, Monday 4/4, 1:20 CT: Still Time To Win

As most of you know, I'm an optimist. I like to try to see the good side of things, even when they don't look good for the Cubs. So this is going to be a looking forward post, not a ledge-jumping one.

Here's one more positive thing about the not-so-positive series against the Pirates: Cubs starting pitchers, although they struggled at times, all went at least six innings; the 8.10 ERA posted by Ryan Dempster is, in part, due to the fact that Mike Quade left him in too long. Dempster has had a propensity to give up home runs in those situations.

I think, despite numbers that don't really prove it, that Cubs starters have done reasonably well in their first series. With a little better luck and a little better offense, they'd have won two of three instead of losing two of three and we'd feel better about the upcoming games. The 2007 and 2008 Cubs both lost two of their first three games. No, I'm not saying this team is comparable, only that we shouldn't give up on the entire season because the Cubs lost their first series.

This is the first time the Cubs have seen the Diamondbacks this early in the season since 2005, when they opened the regular season in Arizona, and the first time since 1996 that an NL West club has visited Wrigley Field this early in April (that year, the Cubs opened the season at home vs. the Padres and Dodgers). It's Arizona's only visit this year, so if there are any weather problems forcing postponements, expect a makeup game on Thursday.

Today's Cubs lineup:

2B Baker, SS Castro, CF Byrd, 3B Ramirez, C Soto, 1B Pena, LF Soriano, RF Fukudome, P Wells

Today's D'backs lineup:

Bloomquist SS, Johnson 2B, Upton RF, Branyan 1B, Young CF, Montero C, Roberts 3B, Parra LF, Saunders P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Randy Wells
Randy Wells
vs. Joe Saunders
Joe Saunders
8-14 W-L 9-17
4.26 ERA 4.47
144 SO 114
63 BB 64
19 HR 25
vs. Ari -- vs. Cubs

Stats above are 2010 final season stats

Last year while he was still with the Angels, Joe Saunders started a game at Wrigley Field on June 20, 2010; he didn't get out of the third inning as the Cubs scored eight runs off him on their way to a 12-1 win, worth noting because the 2010 Cubs didn't have a lot of wins like that. Geovany Soto homered off Saunders that day. Current Cubs are 13-for-47 (.277) off Saunders with four doubles, a triple and three HR (the other two by Marlon Byrd, who faced him quite a bit in their AL West days). Barry Enright was originally going to start this game, but with yesterday's rain/snowout, the D'backs backed up their rotation; the Cubs get to face another lefty in Saunders.

Randy Wells had a solid spring training, hoping to get back to his 2009 level, after an up-and-down 2010. His only start vs. the Diamondbacks last year was on April 30 at Wrigley Field. He gave up five runs, but the Cubs won 11-5. Several of those D'backs are not on the team any more, so that may not be much of an indicator.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago and FSN Arizona. Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Diamondbacks site AZ Snakepit.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 1:15 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm and 4 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to rain delays or extra innings, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.