The Reds are 20-5 at Wrigley Field since the Cubs last won a series against them there, September 5-6-7, 2011.
How long has that been? Just five players from the 2011 team remain (Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney, Welington Castillo, Jeff Samardzija, James Russell). The winning pitchers in the two games the Cubs won in that set were Matt Garza and Kerry Wood, and Carlos Marmol saved both wins.
The Cubs had a chance to sweep that series. In the one game they lost, Bryan LaHair hit a two-run, two-out homer in the ninth to tie the game and the Cubs lost in 13 innings. The go-ahead run for the Reds was scored by Dave Sappelt. Neither manager is around. Seems like a lot longer than three years ago.
Anyway, the Cubs can wipe that one off the books with a win tonight. Here are the particulars.
Lake CF, Sweeney LF, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Valbuena 3B, Schierholtz RF, Baker C, Barney 2B, Jackson P
Well, at least Chris Coghlan isn't leading off. Instead we get Junior Lake and his .274 OBP. Meanwhile, Luis Valbuena's .359 OBP hits fifth.
Hamilton CF, Frazier 3B, Votto 1B, Mesoraco C, Phillips 2B, Bruce RF, Heisey LF, Cozart SS, Latos P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Edwin Jackson, again. I don't really want to write about Edwin Jackson. But he is starting tonight's game. I will point out that Joey Votto has homered twice off him and overall is 8-for-21 against Edwin Jackson.
Maybe Edwin Jackson will pitch well tonight. I won't expect that, though.
The Cubs have not faced Mat Latos this year as he has just come off the disabled list after offseson elbow surgery (not Tommy John -- had bone chips removed). His two starts this year have been very good and mediocre. Last year he made four starts against the Cubs and posted a 2.42 ERA and 1.115 WHIP in 26 innings. Current Cubs are hitting .208 (25-for-120) against him with no home runs. Sounds like doom to me.
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.