While it's not even halfway through this season, and nothing is "must-win" at this time, today's game could be considered important for a number of reasons.
First, winning a series from the Dodgers, who were thought to be a possible World Series team this year, would be an important step in the Cubs' run toward contention this year, apart from the win itself.
And, it would be a good setup going into the weekend series in St. Louis.
Looks like the weather will even cooperate, for the most part. The Cubs haven't played a single 1:20 p.m. CT start this month so far; this is the only one in June.
Here are today's particulars.
Denorfia CF, Rizzo 1B, Bryant 3B, Coghlan LF, Russell SS, Baxter RF, Ross C, Lester P, Herrera 2B
Dexter Fowler, still day-to-day with a minor ankle sprain. Starlin Castro scratched as he awaits the birth of his second child
The Dodgers lineup
Hernandez CF, Rollins SS, Turner 1B, Van Slyke RF, Kendrick 2B, Guerrero LF, Callaspo 3B, Ellis C, Frias P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Jon Lester has been good-to-excellent over his last two starts and the Cubs really need for that to continue. Since May 1 he has a 2.97 ERA and 1.257 WHIP in 10 starts covering 63⅔ innings. His only career start vs. the Dodgers was almost two years ago, August 24, 2013, and a lot of those players aren't on the Dodgers anymore.
Lester batting watch!
Career: 0-for-63 (70 PA), 35 strikeouts
2015: 0-for-27 (27 PA), 13 strikeouts
Carlos Frias made two relief appearances against the Cubs at Wrigley last September, which I confess I had completely forgotten about. In the first, September 20, he struck out the only batter he faced. In the second, September 21, the Cubs hit him pretty hard, getting three hits, two walks and three runs off him in three innings.
He has been up-and-down as a member of the Dodgers rotation this year, having some pretty good starts and some real bad ones. The last two have been bad, and he has a 5.25 ERA and 1.500 WHIP in four starts in June.
Plus, he looks sad in that photo. Let's keep him that way.
Today's game is on ABC7 Chicago. For coverage info in other Midwest markets click here (link opens .pdf). This game will also be shown nationally on MLB Network in most parts of the country. Check your cable/satellite listing.
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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.