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Chicago Cubs vs. Philadelphia Phillies Preview, Sunday 7/26, 1:20 CT

The Cubs must win to avoid being swept by the worst team in baseball. (How's that for a leadin?)

Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

It will take a long time before a new Cubs no-hit streak reaches the proportions of the one just ended.

But let's start a new one today, and ring it in with many, many hits. And a win. The latter, much more important. The Cubs trail the Giants now by 1½ games for the second wild card. Still lots of time left in this season, but it would be nice to go on a winning streak, starting now.

Just a couple more thoughts about Saturday's game. Many years ago -- nearly 10, in fact -- I made an offhand comment about this game, a one-hitter that the Dodgers' Derek Lowe threw against the Cubs. The 2005 Cubs weren't very good; at the time they were seven games under .500 and 21½ games out of first place. I figured, hey, Cubs are losing, why not see some baseball history?

Certain people told me I was "rooting against the Cubs," which was utter nonsense. Was then, is now. And after the Cubs broke the record for the longest streak without being no-hit five years later, I wanted that streak to continue forever. It was definitely a source of pride for any Cubs fan. Those certain people were incorrect then, and are incorrect now, and a person (me) certainly has the right to change his mind, no?

I never, ever root for the Cubs to lose. Didn't then, don't now. Wasn't rooting for a no-hitter yesterday, either, but after it happened? A tip 'o the cap to Cole Hamels, who's an excellent pitcher and who was really dealing.

FWIW, until a Cubs hitter gets a hit today (and I'd love for it to be a leadoff single in the first inning!), the last Cub who got a hit was Jorge Soler, who singled leading off the 10th inning on Friday.

Here are today's particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Fowler CF, Schwarber C, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Soler RF, Coghlan LF, Castro SS, Hammel P, Russell 2B

Personally, I think I might have shaken up the lineup today. Joe Maddon hasn't done that. He usually has good reasons for what he does, though.

Phillies lineup:

Hernandez 2B, Herrera CF, Franco 3B, Howard 1B, Asche LF, Galvis SS, Brown RF, Rupp C, Nola P

Today's Starting Pitchers

Jason Hammel

Jason Hammel


vs. Aaron Nola

Aaron Nola


vs. Phi


vs. Cubs

Jason Hammel struggled through five innings in his last start, July 21 in Cincinnati, allowing two runs (one earned), but throwing 97 pitches. Clearly, he at least has not been too much affected by the leg injury suffered July 8 which kept him out for 13 days, though he did not miss a start. He has not faced the Phillies since 2012, and current members of the team are a small-sample-size 9-for-33 (.273) against him, but with three home runs (two by Ryan Howard, one by Carlos Ruiz).

Aaron Nola is making his second major-league start. His first, July 21 vs. the Rays, was very good: six innings, five hits, one run, six strikeouts. He had a 10-4 record, 2.39 ERA and 1.052 WHIP between Double-A and Triple-A this year before his recall. He was the Phillies' first pick in last year's draft, seventh overall, three spots after Kyle Schwarber was chosen by the Cubs. As of today, Nola, Schwarber, Carlos Rodon, Michael Conforto and Brandon Finnegan are the only players from the 1st round in 2014 to play in the major leagues. Obviously, he has never faced the Cubs nor anyone on their roster.

And yes, his photo there is really big. Happy-looking smile, too. Maybe the Cubs can make him sad today.

Today's game is on ABC7 Chicago. For coverage info in other Midwest markets click here (link opens .pdf).

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Phillies site The Good Phight. If you do go there to interact with Phillies 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.