While we wait for this rain-abbreviated set to get going tonight (no chance of rain!), here's a bit of Cubs history:
Ernie would go on to hit 512 home runs, and had four three-homer games in his career. The Cubs team record, and MLB record, for career three-homer games is six, held by Sammy Sosa (and 1940s Giants slugger Johnny Mize).
The Cubs currently rank in the middle of the major-league pack in home runs, 14th, with 95. That would put them on pace for 148 this year, a few less than the 157 they hit last year.
Just a few random home-run thoughts. Here's one more:
This day in #Cubs history 1961: George Altman is the first player ever to homer twice in a game off Sandy Koufax.— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) August 4, 2015
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Denorfia LF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Soler RF, Castro SS, Ross C, Arrieta P, Russell 2B
Polanco RF, Marte LF, McCutchen CF, Ramirez 3B, Kang SS, Walker 2B, Alvarez 1B, Cervelli C, Happ P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Jake Arrieta has been solid all year. He wound up with a no-decision in his last start, allowing two runs in six innings against the Brewers last Thursday. He's made two starts against the Pirates this year, allowing two runs in 14 innings with one walk and 14 strikeouts. (The Cubs lost the second of those starts because they couldn't score off A.J. Burnett.) The Cubs need Arrieta to pitch like the "ace" he's been all year, as they go down the stretch.
J.A. Happ returns to the N.L. after a three-year soujourn in the A.L. in Toronto and Seattle. He has not faced the Cubs since June 30, 2012, when he was with the Astros. I include that boxscore link mostly for amusement value, but also note that Anthony Rizzo hit his first Cubs home run off Happ in that game. Otherwise current Cubs are 13-for-49 (.265) against Happ with three home runs. The other two were hit by Chris Denorfia, who is also in tonight's lineup.
Today's game is on WGN. 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.