Jorge Soler will play in his first major-league game tonight. You knew that, right?
Here are a few notes about Soler's debut.
- He will be the eighth Cub to make his MLB debut this year (Arismendy Alcantara, Javier Baez, Dallas Beeler, Kyle Hendricks, Neil Ramirez, Matt Szczur and Tsuyoshi Wada are the others).
- He will be the third Cub to make a debut at age 22 or younger in 2014 (Alcantara and Baez).
- He will be the 44th player for the Cubs this year. While that might seem like a lot, the Cubs set a franchise record in 2013 (56) and that's not likely to be matched this year. Many of the likely September callups this season have already played for the 2014 Cubs (Brian Schlitter, Blake Parker, Dan Straily, Junior Lake).
- He will wear the same uniform number he has the last two springs, 68. By wearing it tonight he'll become the first Cub -- player or coach -- to ever wear that number in a regular-season game.
- He will be the 20th player to make his Cubs debut this year (that includes players such as Jason Hammel and Emilio Bonifacio who are no longer with the team).
And that last point is significant. Even the last two years under Theo & Co. didn't have quite so many significant changes from April through August (2012 and 2013 seemed to bring more changes in bench players and bullpen). Perhaps the last year when so many major changes in the roster happened was 1966, when the Cubs set a team record for players used (49) that stood until 2012 (53) and was broken in 2013. Not coincidentally, that was a year of regime change, as Leo Durocher had been hired to help shake things up. It led to an unexpected year of contention in 1967.
Maybe all this roster shifting will make for the same thing in 2015. It will be a most interesting offseason.
Finally, here's an article from SB Nation's John Sickels on what we might expect from Soler. (WARNING! FanDuel sidebars!)
On to today's particulars.
Coghlan LF, Baez 2B, Castro SS, Valbuena 3B, Soler RF, Castillo C, Alcantara CF, Valaika 1B, Turner P
Anthony Rizzo left Tuesday's game with some minor back tightness; we've been told it's not serious, but he'll sit out tonight's game. So, Starlin Castro and Luis Valbuena move up, and Soler bats fifth. I suspect he'll bat sixth most of the time.
Hamilton CF, Frazier 1B, Phillips 2B, Mesoraco C, Bruce RF, Negron 3B, Schumaker LF, Cozart SS, Latos P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Jacob Turner has made two relief appearances for the Cubs, both good ones, totalling 4⅓ innings with one run allowed and one strikeout, with no walks. His last start before he was traded to the Cubs was against the Reds, August 3 in Miami. If you're hoping for good things from Turner tonight, you probably don't want to click on that link. Don't say I didn't warn you.
New team, new start, hopefully better things for Turner.
Mat Latos missed the first two months of 2014 with a torn meniscus, for which he had surgery during spring training. One of his first starts back was against the Cubs, June 25 at Wrigley Field, where he gave up just one run in seven innings.
But the Cubs have turned this team over significantly since then. Three of the eight starting position players that day aren't with the team any more, and a fourth (Ryan Sweeney) is now on the disabled list. It really is a different team facing Latos, who admittedly has shown no sign of the injury bothering him.
Besides, Turner looks happy in his photo and Latos looks... well, sort of pissed off. You'd rather have the happy pitcher bring a happy result, right?
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.