In order to finish this homestand at .500 (5-5), the Cubs must win this afternoon's game. So there's that.
I posted this in the comments to yesterday's recap, but I thought it was worth mentioning again here. This year's Cubs are scoring at historically low levels at home. The fewest runs any Cubs team has scored in the 162-game era is 570, in 1963. That's 3.52 runs per game; this year's team is averaging 3.86 runs per game, which would be 625 runs for the season, slightly more than last year's 614.
But at home, this year's Cubs are scoring just 3.16 runs per game -- 139 runs in 44 home games. Just one full season in Cubs history resulted in a worse run per game rate. That's 1968, the Year of the Pitcher, when the Cubs scored just 249 runs in 81 home games, 3.07 per game.
That's got to improve. The Cubs have allowed 29 runs in the nine games on this homestand, which is actually pretty good, 3.22 per game. But they have scored only 28.
Let's hope the Cubs can enter the All-Star break with an offensive explosion this afternoon.
And a reminder that the Cubs will be wearing throwback uniforms from 1958 today, all with No. 14 on the back to honor Ernie Banks. 1958 was Ernie's first MVP season. The White Sox will wear throwback road uniforms from 1959.
Finally, don't forget the MLB All-Star Futures Game, which will be televised live on MLB Network and streamed at MLB.com, is at 2 p.m. CT this afternoon. Kyle Schwarber will start at catcher for the USA team and bat third, and Carl Edwards Jr. is also on the USA roster.
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Rizzo 1B, Bryant 3B, Soler RF, Denorfia LF, Castro SS, Teagarden C, Arrieta 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
Jake Arrieta's performance so far this year certainly rated an All-Star selection, but since he's scheduled to throw today, he wouldn't have pitched in the game and would have had to be replaced anyway. He has a 1.17 ERA over his last four starts with four walks and 25 strikeouts in 30⅔ innings. He last faced the White Sox May 8, 2014, but I think you can disregard that performance because he had yet to undergo Bosmosis at that time.
Jose Quintana is really good. He doesn't get a lot of attention, but he takes the ball every fifth day and is very consistent. He has thrown at least six innings in 14 of his 17 starts this year, doesn't walk people (26 in 107⅓ innings) and tied Cubs hitters in knots last time he faced them, May 5, 2014. However, that was a very different Cubs team than the one he'll face today. Current Cubs are just 3-for-22 against him, but Taylor Teagarden is 2-for-4 -- a double and a home run.
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.