This is the 100th regular-season game between the Cubs and White Sox.
The White Sox have won 53 of the previous 99, and 20 of the last 33 including Friday's game. The teams are separated by just 12 total runs over the 99 games.
So it's been pretty even since interleague play began in 1997. The Cubs really do need to start scoring more runs. It will not be easy today.
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Rizzo 1B, Bryant 3B, Soler RF, Denorfia LF, Castro SS, Montero C, Lester P, Russell 2B
The White Sox lineup was not available at the time I wrote this preview. Please check the BCB Twitter feed for the White Sox lineup.
Today's Starting Pitchers
At long last, Jon Lester is finally starting to look like the pitcher the Cubs thought they were getting last offseason. He has a 1.72 ERA and 0.926 WHIP in his last five starts and that includes a four-inning stinker against the Dodgers. In the other four he's allowed four total runs in 27⅓ innings. He faced the White Sox three times last year and allowed them four earned runs in 23 innings, with 29 strikeouts. A repeat of that kind of performance would be welcome.
Chris Sale is one of the best pitchers in the game. He generally goes deep into games and just completed a record-tying streak of eight straight starts with 10 or more strikeouts. The Cubs are strikeout-prone, and that could be a problem, except that the Cubs are also aggressive first-strike swingers. It's possible they could hit Sale well if they get strikes early in the count.
Oddly, given the fact that these two teams meet so often, Sale has never faced the Cubs as a starting pitcher and has never pitched in Wrigley Field. His only experience against the Cubs was two relief appearances in June 2011. Just three Cubs have ever faced him (Starlin Castro, Chris Denorfia, Jonathan Herrera) and they are a combined 0-for-4 with a walk, a meaningless sample size.
This is a marquee pitching matchup that is well worth watching.
Today's game is on ABC7 Chicago. For coverage info in other Midwest markets click here (link opens .pdf). If you are in an area outside metro Chicago where you get CSN Chicago, this game is on that channel with the Sox announcers.
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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.