As was pointed out here the other day, the Cubs, since starting 2014 with a 13-27 mark through May 16, have been essentially a .500 team. Since that date the Cubs are 43-45, and the 88 total games for that record are more than half a season's worth of work.
I mention this because the Cubs find themselves Saturday morning just 4½ games behind the Cincinnati Reds in the N.L. Central, four in the loss column. The Cubs and Reds will play six more times, starting with a three-game series beginning Tuesday in Cincinnati.
The question, then, is: Do you want the Cubs to pass the Reds into fourth place in the division? I know many of you will say, "Draft position!" On the other hand, the Cubs haven't finished better than fifth since 2009. Personally, I'd like some progress.
So, vote in the poll. Here are today's particulars.
Coghlan LF, Baez SS, Rizzo 1B, Valbuena 3B, Ruggiano RF, Castillo C, Alcantara CF, Watkins 2B, Hendricks P
The Orioles lineup was not available at the time I wrote this post. Please check the BCB Twitter feed for the Orioles lineup.
Today's Starting Pitchers
Kyle Hendricks has been really, really good in his first seven major-league starts. In fact, after allowing three runs in his first big-league inning, he's given up just five more earned runs in 47⅔ innings since then -- that's a 0.94 ERA over that span. His command and control and location have been excellent. He's obviously never faced the Orioles or anyone on their roster; the Orioles, a good-hitting team, will be a good test for him.
On the other hand, Baltimore's starter, Bud Norris, is quite familiar to Cubs fans from his time with the Astros. He made 10 appearances (nine starts) against the Cubs while with Houston, though hasn't faced them since 2012. That means, unfortunately, that the Cub who's faced him most, Starlin Castro, who is 8-for-22 (.364) against him with two doubles and a home run, won't get to face him today as he is still on the bereavement list.
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.