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Cubs vs. Rockies Preview, Thursday 7/31, 1:20 CT

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The Cubs can win this series and have a .500 homestand with a victory Thursday.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Some fun (and not-so-fun) facts from the 26 innings of baseball the Cubs have played the last two nights:

  • Justin Ruggiano went 0-for-7
  • Nate Schierholtz went 0-for-8
  • Anthony Rizzo went 4-for-12
  • Luis Valbuena went 4-for-9 with a home run and three RBI despite not coming into Tuesday's game unitl the 10th inning
  • Five pitchers threw in both games: Adam Ottavino, Tommy Kahnle, Justin Grimm, Brian Schlitter, Wesley Wright
  • Rockies pitchers threw 444 pitches
  • Cubs pitchers, not to be outdone, threw 462 pitches

Enough? I thought so. Starlin Castro had another errorless game, his 37th straight. (That's good!)

On to today's particulars for a game we all hope lasts just nine innings. 8½ would be even better.

Cubs lineup:

Alcantara 2B, Coghlan LF, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Ruggiano RF, Valbuena 3B, Castillo C, Lake CF, Arrieta P

It's either the long games or the trade deadline hoopla, but the Rockies lineup for this game was not available at the time I wrote this post. Please check the BCB Twitter feed for the Rockies lineup.

Today's Starting Pitchers

Jake Arrieta

Jake Arrieta


Cubs

vs. Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez


Rockies

vs. Col

--

vs. Cubs

Jake Arrieta had a fantastic June. July hasn't been quite as kind to him, though he has posted a decent 3.08 ERA and 1.025 WHIP in 26⅓ innings with no home runs allowed. He has faced only two hitters on the Rockies' active roster: Michael McKenry (0-for-4) and Justin Morneau (2-for-9). Here's hoping for a good ending to July for Arrieta, and for the Cubs.

Pedro Hernandez is being recalled by the Rockies from Triple-A today to start in place of Tyler Matzek, who threw the 16th inning Tuesday night. He is making his season debut and has never faced the Cubs nor anyone on their roster. Doom, most likely. He's left-handed, so he completes the four-game set of lefties the Rox are starting against the Cubs in this series.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Rockies site Purple Row.

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.