The Cubs have just 10 more home games and then the 2014 season at Wrigley Field will be put in the history books. Beyond still having a chance at a winning season at home (they'd have to go 6-4 to do so, not impossible), this will be the last chance for anyone to see Wrigley before the first stage of the ballpark's renovation/expansion/restoration begins. That's supposedly going to start the Monday after the season ends, too.
Also, today marks the first day of "enhanced" security at Wrigley -- meaning everyone coming to the park gets wanded. If you missed this article posted in MLB Bullets this morning, they had to delay the start of Saturday's game in Milwaukee by 15 minutes due to delays in getting everyone in the park because of security checks. Of course, they had a sellout (45,000+) at Miller Park Saturday -- tonight's crowd at Wrigley is likely to be much smaller. If you're going, though, you might want to allow a bit of extra time.
Finally, here's your once-a-series reminder to check out (if you haven't already) SB Nation's partner fantasy site, Fan Duel, where you can win real money. Here's the link.
Here are today's particulars.
Coghlan LF, Baez SS, Rizzo 1B, Soler RF, Valbuena 3B, Castillo C, Alcantara CF, Watkins 2B, Wood P
We expected Jorge Soler back in tonight's lineup. We didn't necessarily expect Anthony Rizzo back -- but there he is. Hope he's 100 percent. If you're keeping track of such things, this is the first time Rizzo and Soler will appear in the same starting lineup.
Hamilton CF, Negron 3B, Frazier 1B, Mesoraco C, Rodriguez RF, Bourgeois LF, Santiago 2B, Elmore SS, Simon P
Looks like a lot of the Reds' regulars are out, too.
Today's Starting Pitchers
With the current six-man rotation, Travis Wood has this start and probably just one more to try to end his season on a high note. We won't go over his last start, which was horrific. Instead, I'll remind you that Wood had a 3.18 ERA in six starts in August and threw six shutout innings, allowing just two hits, in his last start against the Reds August 26 in Cincinnati. A repeat of that would be nice.
Alfredo Simon has been very good in his return to the rotation this year after a couple of years as a Reds setup man. He has made four starts against the Cubs this year, with a 1.40 ERA and 0.974 WHIP in 25⅔ innings. Given that and the cool conditions (favoring pitchers) expected tonight, clearly, we could be doomed.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago Plus (check local cable/satellite listings for the channel).
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.