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Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds Preview, Saturday 4/23, 6:10 CT

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The Cubs go for three straight over the Reds.

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Going to continue this theme because it's so impressive.

The Cubs have the best run differential in the major leagues at +67. Take out the blowouts of 16-0, 9-0 and 8-1 and it would be +36... still the best in the major leagues. By five runs.

More fun with numbers: The Cubs are nine games over .500. The Cubs didn't get to nine games over .500 last year until July 7, and didn't stay nine games (or more) over .500 until August 1.

The dominance of the Cubs so far this year is not something we've been used to. But I think we can learn to be accustomed to this. Right?

Here are today's particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Fowler CF, Heyward RF, Bryant LF, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist 2B, Montero C, Baez 3B, Russell SS, Lackey P

Reds lineup:

Cozart SS, Suarez 3B, Votto 1B, Phillips 2B, Bruce RF, Mesoraco C, Duvall LF, Schebler CF, Straily P

John Lackey

vs

Dan Straily

Last week at Wrigley Field, John Lackey held the Reds to two runs in 6⅔ innings. Then he had a better start against the Cardinals. The Cubs have scored buckets of runs in his starts already -- 28 in three starts this year. Any or all of the above would be great tonight. Current Reds are hitting .250 (36-for-144) against Lackey with five home runs, two of those by Jay Bruce and two by Joey Votto.

Say, here's Dan Straily, the somewhat-forgotten part of the trade that brought Dexter Fowler to the Cubs from the Astros (Luis Valbuena was the other part). Straily spent most of 2015 in Triple-A, was traded to the Padres at the end of spring training and three days later claimed by the Reds off waivers. He's made three relief appearances and one start this year. The start, April 18 against the Rockies, wasn't bad. He pitched 2⅓ innings against the Cubs in the game Lackey started last week, and allowed two runs.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Reds site Red Reporter. If you do go there to interact with Reds 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 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.