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Cubs vs. Brewers Preview, Thursday 8/14, 1:20 CT

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If the Cubs can win today, they will have taken three of four from the Brewers and put a dent in their playoff hopes. What could be better?

What are Hector and John saying to each other? Write your own caption.
What are Hector and John saying to each other? Write your own caption.
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Cubs won a four-game series from the Brewers was at Wrigley Field, June 13-16, 2011. That's a bit surprising, as that was a bad, 91-loss season for the Cubs and the best year in Brewers history, when they won 96 games and the N.L. Central title. Overall, though, in 2011 the Cubs went just 6-10 against Milwaukee and haven't won the season series from them since 2010 (9-6 that year).

A win Thursday afternoon would accomplish the first of those two things -- a four-game series win -- and get the Cubs closer to winning the season series. A victory today would make the Cubs 7-6 against Milwaukee in 2014, with six games remaining between the two clubs. In fact, the Brewers will be back at Wrigley in just 18 days, for a three-game set that starts on Labor Day, September 1 (thanks again for nothing, schedule-makers).

The Cubs have played two good teams very tough in this homestand, splitting the first six games, so a victory would also give the Cubs a winning homestand, something they haven't accomplished in more than two months, since taking five of six from the Mets and Marlins in early June.

Goals! Nice to have them. Better to accomplish them. A win today would be quite satisfying, for many reasons.

On to today's particulars.

Cubs lineup:

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

Brewers lineup:

Gomez CF, Parra RF, Lucroy C, Davis LF, Gennett 2B, Reynolds 3B, Overbay 1B, Herrera SS, Fiers P

No Ryan Braun. What will the boo-birds do? (Also, no Aramis Ramirez, whose name has gotten virtually no reaction at all at Wrigley this week.)

Today's Starting Pitchers

Edwin Jackson

Edwin Jackson


Cubs

vs. Mike Fiers

Mike Fiers


Brewers

vs. Mil

--

vs. Cubs

Edwin Jackson has pitched better lately. Two quality starts in a row! Baby steps, right? I'm sure scouts will still be watching him today. Perhaps one more good outing can get him on a plane to... somewhere. Anywhere. His best start of 2014 was against the Brewers, May 17 at Wrigley Field. A repeat of that would be nice.

This would have been the game where the Cubs would have faced Matt Garza, but he's out with an oblique injury. Too bad, as facing Garza is always fun. Mike Fiers, who has pitched off and on for Milwaukee each of the last four years, takes Garza's spot in the rotation. He has four relief appearances and one start in the major leagues this year, and the one start was a very good one, five days ago against the Dodgers. Fiers has a pretty small sample size against current Cubs: 6-for-17.

Today's game is on WGN.

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 Brewers site Brew Crew Ball. The usual caution is advised.

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.