Most of this preview was written before Game 1. I'm pretty much just adding the lineups; the game gets under way soon.
Coghlan LF, Sweeney CF, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Valbuena 3B, Castillo C, Schierholtz RF, Barney 2B, Samardzija P
Rendon 3B, Frandsen 2B, Werth RF, LaRoche 1B, Zimmerman LF, Ramos C, Desmond SS, McLouth CF, Treinen P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Jeff Samardzija is having the best year of his career. After a rough beginning to his June, his last two outings have been pretty good. His last start against the Nats, August 19, 2013 at Wrigley Field, has a distinction -- it's the last complete game thrown by any Cubs pitcher. The Cubs have played 116 games since then and just three times has any starter thrown eight or more innings -- Shark twice and Travis Wood once. Given that this is the second game of a doubleheader, perhaps doing that again would be useful, even though there's an off day Sunday, to give the bullpen a break.
Blake Treinen appears to be the Nats' version of Dallas Beeler. He had a decent year split between High-A and Double-A in 2013, and pitched well at Triple-A Syracuse this year, so he's had some big-league time already (unlike Beeler). He's made four MLB starts and four relief appearances, most of them undistinguished, and doesn't seem to really be any sort of prospect. He has never faced the Cubs nor anyone on the current roster. You know what that usually means.
Today's second game is one of the "Baseball Night In America" games on your local Fox-TV channel. Here is the coverage map. Seriously -- they might as well not bother. It's really only being carried in the Chicago and Washington areas and a bit beyond, as noted in this morning's post on this topic. However, if you don't live in one of the areas where this game is carried, you can still watch it via MLB Extra Innings or MLB.TV -- the only area where MLB has relented on blackouts.
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.