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Chicago Cubs vs. San Diego Padres Preview, Friday 4/17, 1:20 CT

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Some kid from the Cubs farm system is making his big-league debut today.

Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

So, let me tell you a little personal story, something I don't do much here.

My dad is 93 years old and lives in San Francisco. He's doing remarkably well for someone that age. He's not a big baseball fan but does follow the Cubs, and also the Giants since they're available on his local cable system.

Recently, he had a minor medical procedure. Nothing serious and he's fine, but after scheduling it for earlier this week he asked me to come out to California to help him out.

When he made this request I realized I'd have to miss this weekend's series at Wrigley. So be it, I thought. An early-April set against the Padres? No big deal.

Of course, now it is a big deal. And this is why I'm not going to be in Wrigley Field for Kris Bryant's major-league debut. I'll watch via MLB.tv.

It's OK, really. I'll see Kris Bryant play many, many games and hopefully spend his entire career with the Cubs.

Just wanted you all to know.

Here are today's particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Fowler CF, Soler RF, Rizzo 1B, Bryant 3B, Coghlan LF, Castro SS, Castillo C, Hammel P, Herrera 2B

Cleanup in Bryant's debut game. No pressure there, right? Here's the Cubs' cool lineup tweet:

Padres lineup:

Myers CF, Norris C, Kemp RF, Upton LF, Alonso 1B, Middlebrooks 3B, Gyorko 2B, Amarista SS, Shields P

Today's Starting Pitchers

Jason Hammel

Jason Hammel


Cubs

vs. James Shields

James Shields


Padres

vs. SD

--

vs. Cubs

Jason Hammel pitched well enough to win in his first 2015 start, last Saturday in Colorado (six innings, three earned runs). His only start against the Padres in 2014, May 25 in San Diego, wasn't that great but like the Cubs, the Padres have made significant changes over the winter and a lot of the players in that game aren't on their team anymore. Two new members of the Padres have significant time vs. Hammel. Matt Kemp: 7-for-25, two doubles, a home run. Justin Upton: 8-for-29, two doubles, two home runs. Shut those two guys down and this could be a good day for Hammel.

James Shields, who reportedly considered signing with the Cubs this past offseason, has faced the Cubs only once -- June 19, 2008 while with the Rays. That's completely irrelevant to today, of course. Chris Coghlan is the only Cub who has more than five career at-bats vs. Shields; he's 5-for-13 against him with two doubles and four walks.

It should also be noted that Hammel and Shields were Tampa Bay teammates in 2008, the year the Rays went to the World Series (and also were both on the 2006 and 2007 Rays).

And Shields looks kind of sad in that photo. Let's keep him that way today.

Today's game is on ABC-7 Chicago. For coverage info in other Midwest markets click here (link opens .pdf).

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Padres site Gaslamp Ball. The usual caution is advised.

Once again for 2015, we are going to have the same game-thread routine as the last couple of years. 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 most 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.