The Cubs are 4-1 against the Reds so far this year and if you want to read more about this entire series, check out my series preview, which posted earlier this afternoon.
The biggest story today is the opening of the right-field bleachers, which will add 2,000 more seats that have been unavailable since Opening Night. With the Cubs playing well, it's possible that two or three games this weekend could provide a paid-crowd total over 40,000, which would be the first to cross that number this year.
Beyond that, the players will be happy to see fans behind them once again:
"It'll be great," Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler said Wednesday. "We had some unfinished business." The left-field bleachers weren't ready until May, and that took some adjusting, outfielder Chris Coghlan said. "It was the craziest thing -- I've never played with nobody there," Coghlan said. "It's exciting for everybody -- the fans, the players, the ownership -- to be able to have the construction done and have a full crowd and rowdy and ready to go."
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Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Rizzo 1B, Bryant 3B, Montero C, Castro SS, Coghlan LF, Lake RF, Wada P, Russell 2B
De Jesus 2B, Votto 1B, Frazier 3B, Bruce RF, Pena C, Dominguez LF, Suarez SS, Lorenzen P, Negron CF
The Reds take a page from Joe Maddon's playbook and bat their pitcher eighth. They've actually done this several times over the last couple of weeks.
Also for future reference, the Cubs/Marlins game on Sunday, July 5, which had been listed as "TBD" will begin at 1:20 p.m. and be broadcast on CSN Chicago.
Today's Starting Pitchers
Tsuyoshi Wada made his major-league debut against the Reds July 8, 2014 in Cincinnati and threw five pretty good innings. This year he has made four starts in the big leagues. Two of them were pretty good, one mediocre, and one bad. He has yet to complete six innings in any one start, and the Cubs will need him to be good tonight, because the opposing pitcher is someone they've never seen before.
Michael Lorenzen was a first-round (38th overall) pick of the Reds in 2013. After 49 minor-league appearances (28 starts) he was called up about five weeks ago and has made eight big-league appearances (six starts), most of which have been pretty good. One thing Lorenzen does that the Cubs could take advantage of is issue walks -- he's walked 22 in 38⅓ innings, including six in 6⅓ innings (while allowing only one hit) against the Nationals May 31. The Cubs are second-best in the National League at drawing walks, so that might be a good strategy against someone who none of them has faced before.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago.
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The 2015 Game Thread procedure has changed a bit. Here's how it will work going forward.
You'll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).
At the same time, a StoryStream™ containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.
You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap 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 the game's StoryStream™ as noted above.
The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.