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Chicago Cubs vs. San Francisco Giants Preview, Saturday 5/14, 6:10 CT: Fox-TV Strikes Again

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Why does Fox-TV even bother to pretend that they want to cover several "regional" games on the two May Saturdays that they are contractually permitted to do prime-time games? (You may remember that the Cubs' visit to the Rangers last May was one of these games, too.)

Look, we get it. The Red Sox and Yankees are playing tonight. We know that the national networks salivate every time they can show these two clubs, even though the games take forever (the shortest BOS/NYY game this year has been 2:58, and last night's, televised of course on the Eastern Sports Programming Network, ran 3:35; none of the four so far has gone into extra innings).

So why not just leave the rest of us alone? The two other Fox games today -- the Cubs/Giants game, and the Diamondbacks and Dodgers in Los Angeles -- are barely going to be seen anywhere. For example, the ARI/LAD game will be seen in only the following TV markets: Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Santa Barbara, and the markets covering the state of Arizona. Not even San Diego -- a division rival of both the D'backs and Dodgers -- gets that game; they'll see BOS/NYY there.

The Cubs game will be seen in the following areas: Illinois, Indiana, Missouri (eastern half including Columbia), Wisconsin (except Duluth market), Iowa (except areas covered by Omaha and Rochester, MN markets), Ohio (Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati markets only), Kentucky (Louisville market only), Michigan (Grand Rapids, Alpena and Kalamazoo markets only), Oregon (except areas covered by Boise market), northern Nevada (primarily Reno market) and northern California (everything from Fresno to the Oregon border).

Essentially, that amounts to the home cities of the two teams, three other NL Central markets, and a handful of smaller areas adjacent to those. That's it. Everyone else gets ... well, you know. Makes you hope for a rainout at Yankee Stadium, although that's not likely. Unfortunately, we may not be so lucky here in Chicago:

Tonight: Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. Low around 44. Breezy, with a north wind between 15 and 20 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New rainfall amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch possible.

Now, some potential good baseball news: buried in this Tribune notes column is a note about the starting rotation:

Casey Coleman has filled in for Randy Wells, also on the disabled list.

Wells is scheduled for a rehab start Tuesday at Class A Peoria, the same day Coleman pitches in Cincinnati. That means Wells could start May 22 in Boston, depending on his progress.

Let's hope Wells throws, um, well, at Peoria and has no arm trouble. I'd love to see him back against the Red Sox.

Cubs lineup:

Fukudome rf, Barney 2b, Castro ss, Pena 1b, Byrd cf, Soriano lf, DeWitt 3b, Hill c, Davis p

Giants lineup:

Rowand cf, Sanchez 2b, Huff 1b, Posey c, Ross rf, Burrell lf, DeRosa 3b, Tejada ss, Vogelsong p
Today's Starting Pitchers
Doug Davis
Doug Davis
Cubs
vs. Ryan Vogelsong
Ryan Vogelsong
Giants
making W-L 2-0
his ERA 3.05
2011 SO 17
season BB 7
debut HR 2
vs. SF -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Ryan Vogelsong 2-0 5 3 0 0 0 0 20.2 13 7 7 2 7 17 3.05 .97

Doug Davis had offseason surgery and claims he feels better than he has in many years. Cubs fans will remember him baffling Cub hitters for years with his slow offspeed slop. Drove us crazy to watch. Now, perhaps he can do the same in the blue pinstripes against other teams. He has made seven career starts in Wrigley Field and posted a 2.98 ERA in 45.1 innings, giving up only 15 walks in those innings. Career vs. the Giants: 5-8, 4.72 in 20 appearances (19 starts). Really, it's almost impossible to figure what Davis will do tonight. One thing's for sure: he'd have to be really bad to be worse than the starts James Russell gave the Cubs.

Ryan Vogelsong is 33 years old and was originally drafted by the Giants in 1998. He made his major league debut against the Cubs on September 2, 2000 in San Francisco in mopup time in a game the Giants were leading 13-2 (check out that Cubs lineup for beaucoup yuks). I happened to be in SF for that game. Early the following morning, there was a 5.0 earthquake north of San Francisco that rattled the bed I was sleeping in, the only time I have actually experienced a California earthquake. The two events, as far as I know, are not related.

Anyway, Vogelsong pitched, and not very well, for the Giants and Pirates until 2006, when he was released and went to Japan for two years. He returned to the USA and played in the minor league systems of the Angels and Phillies in 2010 and signed a minor league deal with the Giants this past offseason. He got his shot when Barry Zito went on the DL, and has done well. The only Cub he has any real history with is Aramis Ramirez, who is 5-for-12 against him with two homers. He can resume doing well in his next start after today, as far as I am concerned.

Today's game is on Fox, as noted above. 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 Giants site McCovey Chronicles.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 6 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 7 pm, 8 pm and 8:45 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.