A few numbers to peruse as we await this game which hardly anyone will see (check out the coverage map link below):
- The Cubs must win three of the five remaining home games to have a winning season at home. Of course, that was three of seven before the Dodgers series began, which made it seem a lot more likely than it would appear to be now.
- The Cubs must win five of the eight remaining games overall to avoid losing 90 games for the fourth straight season. That seems possible, as they'll face the Brewers in Milwaukee to end the year. By then, the Brewers could be eliminated from postseason play and also, since June 28, when the Brewers peaked at 19 games over .500, they've played 4½ games worse than the Cubs (28-43 to the Cubs' 34-40).
And, this is another reminder: the game starts three hours earlier than on original schedules -- starting time is 12:05 CT.
Here are today's particulars -- except for lineups, because with the early start, neither team had released a lineup at the time I wrote this preview. Please check the BCB Twitter feed for today's lineups.
Today's Starting Pitchers
Felix Doubront has one career start against the Dodgers, but it was four years ago and most of those players aren't on the Dodgers anymore. Doubront has been surprisingly good in his his three Cubs appearances (1.50 ERA and 1.111 WHIP in 18 innings), so maybe he can continue that. It's almost certain he'll go longer than Edwin Jackson did on Friday.
The Cubs faced Roberto Hernandez earlier this year when he was with the Phillies, June 13 in Philadelphia. Hernandez was ejected from the game after umpire Gary Cederstrom ruled that Hernandez had intentionally thrown at Starlin Castro. Since Hernandez was traded to the Dodgers, he's been markedly worse than he was in Philly and hasn't gotten out of the fifth inning in any of his last three starts. This is one game in this series where the Cubs appear to have the upper hand in starting pitching.
Today's game is on Fox. Here's the regional coverage map and you're not going to like it; this game will be carried only in parts of the Midwest (Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana) and California, Nevada and Arizona. Most of the country will be getting Tigers/Royals; apart from having a backup game in case of rain in Kansas City, I don't know why Fox even bothered with the Cubs and Dodgers. Remember if the game is not on the local Fox station in your region, you can watch it on MLB.TV or Extra Innings if you subscribe to those services. Announcers for the Cubs/Dodgers game: Matt Vasgersian and John Smoltz.
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.