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Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Preview, Monday 5/2, 9:10 CT: Hope Doesn't Float Tonight

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As most of you know, I'm an optimist when it comes to the Cubs. That isn't always easy, but I have seen almost 2300 Cubs games in person and watched thousands more on television.

And every time I watch, I have at least some hope that the Cubs will win. Even last year, when Roy Halladay came to pitch at Wrigley Field with the Cubs about to fall into a tailspin, I had some hope they'd beat him. Not only did they do so, they scored six runs off him, one of the worst poundings he took all season.

But tonight? With James Russell starting again? I have absolutely no hope that the Cubs can win this game, especially with Clayton Kershaw, one of the best lefties in the National League, on the mound for the Dodgers. We have discussed this topic to death, and there's no point rehashing it, other than to say that this is now the fourth game since Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner went down that the Cubs, in my view, have simply tossed away. The good news is that it probably won't happen again; the next time the Cubs will need a fifth starter is May 14 vs. the Giants. By then, hopefully Doug Davis will be ready to go.

Will I be rooting for them to win? Of course. But hope? Not much. If you're looking for even a shred of optimism, here's one that has absolutely nothing to do with baseball.

The Cubs are 2-9 on WGN, 9-5 on CSN. Tonight's game is on CSN.

Well, I told you it has nothing to do with baseball.

Cubs lineup:

SS Castro, 2B Barney, CF Byrd, 3B Ramirez, C Soto, LF Soriano, 1B Pena, RF Johnson, P Russell

Starlin back to leadoff. So there's that, then.

Dodgers lineup:

Carroll SS, Sands 1B, Ethier RF, Kemp CF, Uribe 3B, Thames LF, Barajas C, DeJesus 2B, Kershaw P
Today's Starting Pitchers
James Russell
James Russell
Cubs
vs. Clayton Kershaw
Clayton Kershaw
Dodgers
1-3 W-L 2-3
8.31 ERA 3.52
9 SO 41
4 BB 15
6 HR 5
vs. LA -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - James Russell 1-3 7 3 0 0 0 1 13.0 21 13 12 6 4 9 8.31 1.92


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Clayton Kershaw 2-3 6 6 0 0 0 0 38.1 33 15 15 5 15 41 3.52 1.25

James Russell has four career relief appearances against the Dodgers, covering 5.1 innings. Current Dodgers are 1-for-8 against him. Oddly enough, the only Dodger who has a hit is Aaron Miles. That's likely to change after tonight. Russell's grim numbers as a starter: three games, 9.2 innings, 19 hits and four walks allowed, six HR allowed, 11.17 ERA, 2.38 WHIP.

Clayton Kershaw had not faced the Cubs until 2010; he had two starts against them last year, a loss at Wrigley Field on May 25 when Ryan Dempster threw a great game, and eight shutout innings and a win in LA on July 8. Current Cubs, though, are hitting .316 (12-for-38) against him; Jeff Baker and Alfonso Soriano have hit home runs.

As noted above, today's game is on CSN Chicago. It's also on Prime Ticket LA. Those of you outside Chicago with EI get the privilege of hearing Vin Scully. 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 Dodgers site True Blue LA.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 9 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 10 pm, 11 pm and 11:45 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.