ICYMI, Darwin Barney has been designated for assignment and Emilio Bonifacio activated from the disabled list. You can go to that link for more discussion of those transactions.
The Cubs are 2-11 since the Big Trade was made July 4. This, you know. We have debated endlessly here on whether the deal helped cause the slide and it's not my purpose to revisit that debate. Instead, I think it will be instructive to see if the Cubs, who have played much better at home than on the road, can right that slide against teams they should be able to defeat (the Padres and Rockies, not so much the Cardinals). Of the 13 games played since the trade, 10 were on the road, where the Cubs went 1-9 against two good teams (Reds and Nationals) and in a place where they have played horribly historically (Chase Field). They were 1-2 in the brief three-game home series after the break against another good team, the Braves.
This homestand ought to be different. We'll see, starting tonight.
Upcoming schedule note: though there's been no official announcement, the August 3 Cubs/Dodgers game at Los Angeles, shown on original schedules as "TBD," is now officially scheduled for 3:10 CT, as ESPN is showing Yankees/Red Sox that night (gosh, what a surprise). The Cubs/Dodgers game August 3 will be televised by WGN.
If you haven't signed up yet for FanDuel, the fantasy game where you can make real money, today would be a good day to do that, and you can do it at this link.
Here are tonight's particulars.
Bonifacio 2B, Alcantara CF, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Ruggiano RF, Castillo C, Lake LF, Olt 3B, Hendricks P
The Padres lineup was not available at the time I wrote this post. Please check the BCB Twitter feed for the Padres lineup.
Today's Starting Pitchers
Kyle Hendricks, obviously, has never faced the Padres or anyone on their roster. His one previous start, against the Reds July 10 in Cincinnati, started out roughly with a bad first inning, but then he settled down and wound up with a decent outing (with Edwin Jackson numbers, oddly: six innings, four runs). I'm hoping he sticks in the rotation the rest of the year. He has not pitched since that July 10 outing; hopefully, the 11-day layoff won't affect him.
Eric Stults has had a bad year. His ERA is 90th among the 94 qualified starters (Jackson and Travis Wood are among the four below him) and he leads the major leagues with 11 losses. His one start against the Cubs this year, May 22 in San Diego, was one of the Cubs' better games on that road trip. Anthony Rizzo homered off him. Perhaps this homestand will start off well.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago Plus (check your cable/satellite listings for the channel).
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.