The Cubs had no games rained out at home in 2012, so this split doubleheader is the first one at Wrigley Field in quite some time -- since June 28, 2011 against the Giants. That was one manager and quite a number of different players ago; have a look at the boxscores from that day (Game 1; Game 2) to see how much change has come to this team in two years and one month's time. (Did you even remember some of those players were Cubs at all?)
This will be the first time the Cubs will take advantage of the rule allowing a minor-league callup for a doubleheader without having to send someone down. Jake Arrieta will be the beneficiary of that rule, to start Game 2 tonight, and he says he doesn't want to go back to Iowa:
"I think the performance will do the speaking, that will determine whether I stay here or go back to Iowa," he said. "I don't plan on going back. I plan on making it tough for them to decide and just go from there. I just think first and foremost, it's great to be here. First time in Wrigley, and as soon as I walked up those [dugout] steps, I got some chills. It's a park that I've heard about and knew a lot about as a kid. It's just special. I'm thankful for this opportunity."
Let's hope he's right. I like that kind of confidence; it'd be great if Arrieta shows enough that he makes it a difficult decision for Theo and Jed.
In the meantime, there's a day game before Arrieta takes the mound.
DeJesus cf, Lake lf, Rizzo 1b, Schierholtz rf, Castro ss, Valbuena 3b, Barmey 2b, Castillo c, Villanueva p
Weeks 2b, Aoki rf, Segura ss, Lucroy c, Gomez cf, Gindl lf, Bianchi 3b, Betancourt 1b, Gallardo p
Today's Starting Pitchers
|2013 - Carlos Villanueva
|2013 - Yovani Gallardo
Carlos Villanueva somehow managed to miss both previous Milwaukee series as a starter; he has one relief appearance against the Brewers this year (one scoreless inning on June 26). Since returning to the rotation he has one good start, one mediocre one and one bad one (7.20 ERA, 1.867 WHIP). Active members of Milwaukee's roster are just 2-for-13 against him; maybe that'll help.
Yovani Gallardo started that June 26 game in Milwaukee for the Brewers, in which Villanueva made a relief outing. The Cubs hit him early and hard; eight hits and four walks in four innings, during which Gallardo threw 96 pitches and had to be lifted. Gallardo, who has been the subject of some trade rumors, had a rough July: 7.56 ERA and 1.76 WHIP in 25 innings in five starts and he got hit hard in his last start against the Padres.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago.
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, and for this late-night series in Arizona, two and a half hours.
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.