I have to give this year's Cubs team a lot of credit.
They're not really built to win. Apart from Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro, their offense struggles almost every day.
But the starting pitching has, for the most part, been very good and the bullpen is much improved over the 2013 version. As a result, the Cubs are 16-12 since they lost a stinker in Milwaukee, 9-0 on June 1. Interestingly enough, as good as that mark is, it's only fourth-best in the N.L. Central. All five teams in the division are over .500 since June 1.
Coghlan LF, Ruggiano CF, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Valbuena DH, Castillo C, Schierholtz RF, Olt 3B, Barney 2B
Red Sox lineup:
Holt RF, Pedroia 2B, Ortiz DH, Napoli 1B, Gomes LF, Bogaerts 3B, Pierzynski C, Betts CF, Herrera SS
Today's Starting Pitchers
Travis Wood has never faced the Red Sox. Current members of the Boston roster are a small-sample-size 2-for-18 against him. This tells us almost nothing. Wood's last four starts have produced a 3.12 ERA and 1.385 WHIP, which is a considerable improvement over the month before that. Let's hope Wood has righted his ship.
Brandon Workman went into the Red Sox rotation when Felix Doubront got hurt and has thrown well enough (3.60 ERA, 1.114 WHIP in six starts, 35 innings) to stay there. He has never faced the Cubs nor anyone on the current Cubs roster. That's usually a recipe for doom.
Today's game is on WCIU. WCIU games can also be seen on the following channels: Springfield/Decatur/Champaign, WCIX 49.2; Peoria, WAOE 59.1; Des Moines, WHO 13.2; Quad Cities (Davenport/Moline), WQAD 8.2 or 8.3; Ft. Wayne, WANE 15.2; South Bend, WMYS 69; Rockford, WTVO 17.2; Cedar Rapids-Waterloo-Iowa City-Dubuque KCRG 9.2. In some parts of the USA this game will be shown on MLB Network.
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.