The Cubs won their last home series, last week against the Rockies. Then they won the road series in Los Angeles. With a victory today, they'd have three consecutive series wins, something they haven't done since July 6-19, 2012, when they won series from the Mets, Diamondbacks and Marlins. A win would also make for a winning road trip at 4-2. The last time the Cubs had a winning trip of six or more games was July 19-28, 2013, when they went 6-4 on a trip to Colorado, Arizona and San Francisco (note: that included a four-game series split, which is why it's been longer than that since three straight series were won).
It would also be the Cubs' first series victory in Denver since August 3-5, 2004 (!), when they swept a three-game set.
Things are looking up (despite Wednesday's blowout loss). It would be nice for the team to accomplish a winning road trip and then come home, where they'll play most of their remaining games (29 at home, 20 on the road after today).
Here are today's particulars.
Coghlan LF, Baez 2B, Castro SS, Ruggiano RF, Castillo C, Alcantara CF, Valbuena 3B, Valaika 1B, Hendricks P
It's Anthony Rizzo's day to get a breather. It's also worth noting that five of the starting nine today (Chris Coghlan, Javier Baez, Arismendy Alcantara, Chris Valaika and Kyle Hendricks) spent part or much of this year at Triple-A Iowa.
Blackmon CF, Rutledge SS, Morneau 1B, Arenado 3B, Gonzalez RF, Dickerson LF, Rosario C, LeMahieu 2B, Flande P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Kyle Hendricks is the kind of pitcher who succeeds with movement around the zone and keeping the ball down. The latter is especially important in Coors Field. He pitched well earlier on this trip against a much better team than the Rockies, who, obviously, he has never faced before. What will happen? A clue might be found in the two outings Hendricks had this year in Triple-A Colorado Springs, a similar altitude environment to Denver. 12 innings, 17 hits, six earned runs, four walks, eight strikeouts. Not great, not awful.
Yohan Flande made two appearances in the Rockies' visit to Wrigley Field, one start and one relief appearance, combining for 8⅓ innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs. He struck out 10 and walked two, and has not pitched since the July 31 relief outing.
I still think "flambé" every time I see that name.
Today's game is on WGN.
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.