As noted in the series preview, Joe Maddon is urging Cubs players to not think of this series as different from any other, or even to think beyond "one game at a time."
That's wise counsel for players, but for us as fans? We can hype this up if we want. Personally, I'd love to see the Cubs win this series and pick up ground. The Cardinals aren't invincible and I'd truly enjoy seeing them pull a 1969 Cubs-type collapse.
Unlikely? Sure. But in early July 1969, so was the Cubs collapse.
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Here are today's particulars.
Coghlan LF, Rizzo 1B, Bryant 3B, Montero C, Castro SS, Soler RF, Fowler CF, Lester P, Russell 2B
Pham CF, Carpenter 3B, Peralta SS, Heyward RF, Molina C, Wong 2B, Reynolds 1B, Grichuk LF, Lackey P
Today's Starting Pitchers
In his last four starts Lester has posted a 2.22 ERA and 1.027 WHIP with just one home run allowed in 24⅓ innings, and last time out against the Mets he was outstanding. That's the Lester the Cubs thought they had signed -- here's hoping he sticks around.
When John Lackey left the game against the Cubs June 26 in St. Louis, the Cubs had a 2-1 lead. Let's not talk about the rest of that game, but the Cubs showed they can hit Lackey that night, with eight hits and three walks. If they had done better than 1-for-9 with RISP, they might have won that game. Lackey has pretty much matched Lester over his last four starts (2.17 ERA, 1.138 WHIP), so I'd expect a low-scoring game tonight.
Jon Lester hit watch:
2015: 0-for-30 (30 PA), 15 strikeouts Career: 0-for-66 (73 PA), 37 strikeouts
Lackey and Lester were teammates in Boston for three full seasons (2010, 2011, 2013) and part of a fourth (2014) before both were traded last year, in fact, on the same day, July 31. Will Lester's former Red Sox teammate be the one to allow his first big-league hit?
Today's game is on WGN. In most of the USA this game will also be on ESPN (check your cable/satellite listings). For coverage info in other Midwest markets click here (link opens .pdf).
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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.