MILWAUKEE -- I decided to head up to Miller Park to take in one last game for the 2014 season, and hoping to see the Cubs finish up strong. I had also hoped to see Kyle Hendricks throw one last time, but the brass decided to shut him down after he had a combined 183 innings between Triple-A Iowa and the major leagues this year. Instead, Jacob Turner will be the guy to try to help the Cubs end this year with a win.
Wins are always important, but this one would have particular meaning. If the Cubs win, they will avoid losing 90 games this year. That would be the first sub-90-loss season since 2010, and it would also represent an increase of seven wins over the 2013 total. Progress can come in small ways. A win would also mean the Cubs would have played essentially .500 ball since their 13-27 start. They are 59-62 since then. (Note: the Brewers are 55-64 since that date, May 16, on which they defeated the Cubs 4-3 to open a five-game division lead.)
Site note: I'm contemplating sticking around Milwaukee for dinner tonight, which means it'd be pretty pointless to try to get a recap posted this evening. So -- watch for my game recap and also Heroes & Goats from Game 162, Monday morning.
Here are today's particulars.
Coghlan LF, Baez SS, Rizzo 1B, Soler RF, Valbuena 3B, Alcantara CF, Valaika 2B, Baker C, Turner P
Parra LF, Braun RF, Lucroy 1B, Ramirez 3B, Segura SS, Maldonado C, Schafer CF, Herrera 2B, Fiers P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Let's look at Jacob Turner's season this way. Since he came to the Cubs, he has faced the Brewers twice, once in relief and one start. In those two games, he has thrown 8⅔ innings, allowed five hits and one run (a solo homer by Khris Davis in this game), with one walk and seven strikeouts.
That would be an awesome way to end this season for Turner, who I believe still has talent and still could be an impact pitcher in the major leagues. Hope he ends his season on a high note.
Mike Fiers started against the Cubs August 14 at Wrigley Field. He allowed three hits and no runs and struck out 14.
Could we be doomed? Or is Fiers, who has posted a 1.93 ERA and 0.801 WHIP in nine starts since being recalled in August, hittable?
Today's game is on WGN -- possibly the last Cubs game ever on WGN-TV after 66 years, as we don't yet know where the 2015 TV contract will end up. (Speculation: in the end, the Cubs re-up with WGN, local to Chicago only, for five more years.)
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.