If someone had told you, before the season started, that the Cubs would enter this series with a record just half a game worse than the Giants, you'd have been pretty happy, right? Given what we know now, that the defending World Series champions are not much looking like champions this year, that's not such a good thing. Still, that might make this a more competitive series than we might have guessed a month or two ago.
With that in mind, I thought I'd turn this preview over to my friend Grant Brisbee of our SBN Giants site McCovey Chronicles. Here's what he wrote me about this series:
It's been almost ten years since the Giants and Cubs were in the same place. When the Cubs have been good, the Giants have been bad. When the Giants have been good, the Cubs have been bad. Now we're here. Both teams are pretty bad. And the Giants need the Cubs' help. The Cubs can't Cub more than the Giants Giant this series. That is, they can't make the Giants look like a good team. I'm not saying that I'm hoping the Cubs win. Absolutely not. But they can't get no-hit by Tim Lincecum. Edwin Jackson needs to be Jekyll Edwin, not Hyde Edwin. And for goodness' sake, gentlemen, keep the ball in your mitts. Because if the Cubs make the Giants look good, there will be a false sense of hope. That'll be a mess. That shouldn't happen; it should be an evenly matched series. Matt Cain and Jackson are having identical years, and so are Travis Wood and Madison Bumgarner. Chris Rusin ... won some sort of radio contest, so maybe he can keep that luck going. Lincecum is still one of the most confusing pitchers in baseball. Just don't make the Giants look like a playoff team. That's all I ask.
ICYMI, the Cubs have replaced Alfonso Soriano on the 25-man and 40-man rosters with Eduardo Sanchez, the RH reliever they picked up on waivers from the Cardinals earlier this year:
#Cubs will add RHP Eduardo Sanchez today to roster— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) July 26, 2013
DeJesus CF, Lake LF, Rizzo 1B, Schierholtz RF, Castro SS, Valbuena 3B, Barney 2B, Castillo C, Jackson P
Blanco CF, Abreu 2B, Posey C, Sandoval 3B, Pence RF, Belt 1B, Francoeur LF, Crawford SS, Cain P
Today's Starting Pitchers
|2013 - Edwin Jackson||6-11||19||19||0||0||0||0||107.1||113||68||60||9||38||92||5.03||1.41|
|2013 - Matt Cain||6-6||20||20||0||0||0||0||117.0||99||66||65||16||41||107||5.00||1.20|
So which Edwin Jackson do we get tonight? The one who sucked against the Giants April 14 at Wrigley Field? Or the one who's put up a 2.45 ERA and 0.935 WHIP in his last four starts? That's the guy the Cubs paid $52 million for. Let's hope he shows up tonight.
Matt Cain's numbers, as Grant pointed out above, are eerily similar to Jackson's. But even more interesting, since his perfect game last year he's made 39 starts covering 241⅔ innings, a bit more than one full season. He's allowed 211 hits and 110 earned runs for a 4.10 ERA, not even close to the guy he was before the perfect game. In recent years, only Felix Hernandez seems to have survived a perfect game intact; the other perfect-game pitchers since 2009 (Mark Buehrle, Roy Halladay, Dallas Braden and Philip Humber) have all fallen on tough times.
Let's give Cain some of those tonight. He did throw seven decent innings against the Cubs April 12 at Wrigley Field, though the Cubs won that game, the only one they won in that four-game series.
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.