A little less than six years ago, July 5, 6 and 7, 2010, the Cubs came to Chase Field and did something unusual: they won a series. Swept it, in fact. That's the only series the Cubs have won in Phoenix since 2003.
The 2010 Cubs weren't a very good team; they lost 87 games. The 2010 D'backs were worse, a 97-loss club.
Both these teams are better than that now. The Cubs are, even without Kyle Schwarber, expected by many to win the N.L. Central. The D'backs added big-name starting pitching and hope to contend. So a win today, taking this series, would indeed be significant for the Cubs.
Here are today's particulars.
Zobrist 2B, Heyward CF, Bryant RF, Rizzo 1B, Soler LF, La Stella 3B, Montero C, Russell SS, Arrieta P
If you are wondering why Dexter Fowler, the team's hottest hitter, is not starting, here's why:
Fowler admitted he was sore from the collision with Schwarber. Sunday will be a day of rest for the #Cubs CF— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) April 10, 2016
Brito CF, Gosselin 2B, Goldschmidt 1B, Peralta RF, Drury LF. Lamb 3B, Owings SS, Herrmann C, Miller P
Jake Arrieta had an awesome first start this year against the Angels, continuing the dominance he showed in the second half of last year. His last start against the D'backs was September 5, 2015 at Wrigley Field, where he threw eight shutout innings. Another one of those, please.
Amazing but true Jake fact: Jake is the only Cubs pitcher in the expansion era (since 1961) to make 68 or more starts and have an ERA under 3.00 (his Cubs ERA is 2.23; next lowest is Bill Hands, 3.18).
Shelby Miller got hit hard in his first Arizona start, allowing three home runs and six runs in six innings. He faced the Cubs twice last year, losing both (not unusual for a Braves pitcher in 2015), but the most significant number from those starts is the number of walks: eight in 12⅓ innings. That's something this Cubs team does well, so if they can be patient with Miller, good things should follow.
Today's game is on WGN.
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The 2016 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used at the end of 2015. Here's how it works.
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.