Instead of a preview of this game, I recommend you all read this very long ESPN.com article about the history of Cubs managers. It contains quotes from several recent occupants of that job, up to and including Dale Sveum. There's good advice in there for Rick Renteria, including this from Joe Amalfitano, who managed a couple of Cubs teams that were about as bad as the 2014 edition is likely going to be:
"Nobody really cares what I think, but since you're asking, here is what I would tell Rick Renteria. On one of your first days at Wrigley, get there very early, and take your cup of coffee and your fielding charts and your books out to the dugout. Then sit there, and every once in a while, look up from your homework to see the place come alive. The grounds crew will get there first, and then the clubhouse guys and the security and concessions people, and then the pitchers will come out of the tunnel for batting practice, and the media will start to gather. Sit there in that dugout until it's 1 o'clock and there are 30,000 people cheering in the seats. If he does that, he'll realize just how fortunate he is. And that will make the job easier."
Amalfitano was a good baseball man who was a bit over his head as a manager; he later was a third-base coach for decades for the Dodgers. Good advice, I think.
Bonifacio CF, Castro, SS, Ruggiano RF, Rizzo 1B, Lake LF, Olt 3B, Castillo C, Barney 2B, Samardzija P
The all-right-handed lineup vs. a LHP (except for Anthony Rizzo).
Revere CF, Rollins SS, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Byrd RF, Brown LF, Nieves C, Asche 3B, Lee P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Jeff Samardzija threw very well in Pittsburgh in his first 2014 start, not that it led to a win or anything. He faced the Phillies once in 2013. You really don't want to look. (Don't say I didn't warn you.) Part of the result of that game: current Phillies are hitting .300 (18-for-60) against him.
Oddly enough, current Cubs are hitting even better against Cliff Lee -- .308 (16-for-52). A lot of that is Justin Ruggiano (4-for-10, three doubles). Starlin Castro has homered off Lee in the past. Lee got absolutely pounded in his first 2014 start against the Rangers. Perhaps we're not doomed today after all.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago.
For 2014, we are going to have the same game-thread routine as 2013. Here's how it works.
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.