The Cubs traveled to Tropicana Field in June 2008. At the time, the Cubs were 3½ games in first place in the National League Central and the Rays were surprising everyone, entering the series 11 games over .500, the most games they had been over the break-even mark in their history to that date.
The Rays swept the Cubs, winning the first two games by one run and blowing a 3-1 lead in the final game of the set on a memorable Carlos Marmol meltdown.
I mention this only because the Cubs must win today in order to avoid consecutive sweeps (six years apart) and their sixth straight loss to the Rays. In the other two seasons in which the Cubs and the (Devil) Rays played, the Cubs won the N.L. Central. That isn't happening this year, of course, so it would be nice to win one game in this series.
Must be a Sunday thing. Neither team had released a lineup at the time I wrote this post. Please check the BCB Twitter feed for today's lineups. Here are the rest of today's particulars:
Today's Starting Pitchers
Travis Wood is having a bad year. This, we know. He did throw better in his last start, last Tuesday in Colorado. He has never faced the Rays and has faced just two players on their active roster (Logan Forsythe and James Loney, combined 0-for-11).
I don't usually do this, and it's nothing more than a hunch, but I think Wood's going to have an outstanding outing today. Again, just a feeling, for whatever that's worth.
Alex Cobb is having a solid season for the Rays and in his last two starts against N.L. Central teams he's struck out 22 in 15 innings (10 Cardinals on July 23, 12 Brewers on July 29). Given the Cubs' 15 K's Saturday, that's not a good sign. Cobb has never faced the Cubs nor anyone on the current roster. Clearly, we are doomed.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago.
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.