16 years ago today, on a mild but wet afternoon at Wrigley Field in front of a paid crowd of 15,758 -- the seventh-smallest paid attendance that year -- Kerry Wood burst on the national scene by striking out 20 Astros. It was the first in a series of memorable performances by Cubs and the team in that wild-card-winning season
How far away that seems today. Maybe 15,000 or so will show up at Wrigley tonight, though the paid number will be higher, and the two teams playing are likely going nowhere in the 2014 standings.
Here's the boxscore from that game if you'd like to relive it. Incidentally, besides Wood's record 20 K's, another strikeout record was set in that game. Astros starter Shane Reynolds, who also threw a complete game, struck out 10 Cubs. The 30 combined strikeouts is a major-league record.
Bonifacio 2B, Valbuena 3B, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Castillo C, Schierholtz RF, Lake CF, Coghlan LF, Jackson P
I think I'm going to quit complaining about lineup selection. My life will be much more peaceful that way.
White Sox lineup:
De Aza CF, Beckham 2B, Abreu 1B, Dunn LF, Viciedo RF, Ramirez SS, Flowers C, Semien 3B, Noesi P
Once again, Adam Dunn will inhabit left field. Might be the last time he does it, at least at Wrigley.
Today's Starting Pitchers
Edwin Jackson. Edwin Jackson. Edwin Jackson. More words so I don't have to write about Edwin Jackson... oh, here. Jackson has been Jackson this year. Slow games, lots of walks, maybe one start out of six that's been even close to decent...
Jackson did not face the White Sox last year. Well, actually, he did -- that was the game at the Cell that got rained out after two innings. Jackson actually threw two very good innings that night, but obviously they don't count, so... Current White Sox players are a small-sample-size 6-for-41 (.146) against him, but 1-for-12 of that is Paul Konerko, who might not play at all, and another 1-for-2 is Jeff Keppinger, who's on the DL.
In short, who knows?
Hector Noesi. Well, he's piled up frequent-flyer miles this year, anyway. Noesi, who was once part of a fairly big trade (the Michael Pineda for Jesus Montero deal between the Mariners and Yankees), is already on his third team this year. He began with the Mariners, for whom he had two bad relief appearances; sold to the Rangers, he made three bad relief appearances there, and claimed on waivers by the White Sox, he has made one relief appearance and one start for them, and his 7.20 ERA for the Sox is his best for any of the teams.
Noesi has faced the Cubs once, a 1-2-3 inning of relief for the Yankees June 18, 2011. Current Cubs have eight at-bats against him, so that's no indication of anything.
He'll probably throw a three-hit shutout. Doomed, I tell you.
Today's game is on WGN.
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.