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Chicago Cubs vs. Cleveland Indians Preview, Thursday 6/18, 6:10 CT

The Cubs look to win another series. (Yes, this is a "series", and I'm including Tuesday's game.)

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

This was supposed to be a four-game series, with two games in Chicago and two in Cleveland. Now it's a three-gamer, with Monday's rainout, and the Cubs have a chance to win it with a victory tonight.

In case you hadn't noticed, and you probably didn't with the Cubs scoring at will last night, but the umpiring crew came along to Cleveland as well as the players -- it's clear that MLB viewed this as one series between two teams. That was the case for the umpiring crews for all the other interleague series this week.

If the Cubs win this one, they'll move to eight games over .500, which would be a season high. The last time a Cubs team was eight games over .500 was after they defeated the Giants in San Francisco September 26, 2009. They were 81-73. Even with the Cardinals and Pirates now hot teams, the Cubs currently inhabit the second wild-card spot, so continuing to win would be a very good thing.

And the good news from this afternoon: the Cardinals lost to the Twins for the second straight day. (Hey Twins, you can stop winning now. Thanks for beating the Cardinals, though.)

I hate to even bring this up, but there's rain and thunderstorms in tonight's forecast for Cleveland.

Here are today's particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Fowler CF, Rizzo 1B, Bryant 3B, Montero C, Castro SS, Coghlan LF, Denorfia RF, Schwarber DH, Russell 2B

Indians lineup:

Kipnis 2B, Lindor SS, Brantley LF, Santana 1B, Murphy DH, Moss RF, Gomes C, Bourn CF, Urshela 3B

Today's Starting Pitchers

Jason Hammel

Jason Hammel


vs. Danny Salazar

Danny Salazar


vs. Cle


vs. Cubs

Jason Hammel is having a very good year, but his last start was a bit rough, with three walks, a season high. Even so, his 0.963 WHIP ranks fourth in the N.L., behind Max Scherzer, Johnny Cueto and Francisco Liriano, pretty good company. He has walked only 12 in 80 innings. Current members of the Indians are a small-sample-size 16-for-63 (.254) against Hammel with one home run (Jason Kipnis). And trust me, you don't want to know Hammel's career ERA in Progressive Field. (Not going to post it, if you really want to know, click here.) He hasn't pitched there since 2011, though, so maybe now will be better.

Danny Salazar has quietly become one of the better pitchers in the American League. His 87 strikeouts (in 68⅔ innings) rank tied for sixth in the A.L. with Felix Hernandez. Salazar has never faced the Cubs, and the only Cub who's ever seen him is Dexter Fowler (1-for-4). Hopefully, this isn't doom.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago.

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Indians site Let's Go Tribe. If you do go there to interact with Indians fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.

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.