Congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks, who won the NHL's Western Conference title late Saturday night in double overtime and are now headed to the Stanley Cup Finals starting Wednesday night. Perhaps you'll see a Blackhawk or two taking in Sunday's game at Wrigley Field.
This is the sort of thing we hope to see at Wrigley over the next few years -- consistent contending teams that win championships every few years. The Blackhawks haven't won this one yet, but they've got a real good shot, and they've now had the equivalent of getting to the World Series twice in four years.
We'd take that.
Further to the note at the top of this post: the Pirates are 21-11 at home. The Cubs are 11-17 on the road. The Cubs are one of just three teams (Nationals, Reds the others) to win a series in Pittsburgh this year. Go figure.
Regarding offense: The Cubs have scored just 21 runs in their last six games, and that includes eight in Anaheim last Wednesday. The team run differential is still just -6, but they rank sixth-best in runs allowed and only eighth in runs scored. No seagulls have been involved in this, but the way the Cubs have scored lately...
Barney 2b, Ransom 3b, Rizzo 1b, Soriano lf, Hairston rf, Navarro c, Castro ss, Sweeney cf, Jackson p
Marte LF, Snider RF, McCutchen CF, Jones 1B, Martin C, Alvarez 3B, Walker 2B, Barmes SS, Locke P
Today's Starting Pitchers
|2013 - Edwin Jackson||1-8||11||11||0||0||0||0||58.2||73||48||41||5||25||56||6.29||1.67|
|2013 - Jeff Locke||5-1||12||12||0||0||0||0||69.2||55||20||19||5||28||49||2.45||1.19|
I don't know what to write in this space about Edwin Jackson any more. Only because he had one start rained out, does he not rank at the bottom of all MLB starters in season ERA (he's one-third of an inning short of qualifying). All of you know this: Jackson has never been a top-of-the-rotation starter. But neither has he been this bad. We all keep waiting to see better things. Maybe today will be the day.
Jeff Locke looks like he's posing for his middle-school portrait up there, doesn't he? Locke made two starts against the Cubs in 2012 -- he has not faced them this year -- throwing a total of 10⅓ innings and allowing seven earned runs. The Cubs won both of those games. Anthony Rizzo went 3-for-6 with a homer off Locke. Maybe this is the game the Cubs finally break through with some run-scoring.
Today's game is on WGN.
Here's the scoop on game threads for 2013. 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.