SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- Now we get into the meat of the 2016 season, after a pleasant Opening Night feast.
The Cubs are 4-1 all-time in Anaheim (two wins in 2004, a win and a loss in 2013, and Monday night's win). It would be nice to make that 5-1 before we say farewell to Angel Stadium for at least three years. The Cubs won't be done with the Angels for 2016 after tonight, though; they'll be at Wrigley Field for a pair of games August 9 and 10.
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Heyward RF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist 2B, Soler DH, Russell SS, Szczur LF, Ross C
Kyle Schwarber gets the day off (at least as a starter), and Matt Szczur gets a start in the wake of his bases-clearing double Monday night.
Escobar 3B, Gentry LF, Trout CF, Pujols DH, Cron 1B, Calhoun RF, Simmons SS, Perez C, Giavotella 2B
The last time Jon Lester pitched in Angel Stadium was August 29, 2014 while with the A's. The results were middling. Overall current members of the Angels are 27-for-109 (.248) against Lester with no home runs. I'm just glad that this is a game where Lester doesn't have to bat.
Andrew Heaney, who is in his third major-league season, has never faced the Cubs nor anyone on the current roster. So far in his big-league career he's got a good walk ratio, so the Cubs, who like to work walks, have their work cut out for the righthander, who was the Marlins' No. 1 pick in 2012 (three picks after Albert Almora was taken by the Cubs). He was a top-50 prospect three years in a row and came to the Angels for Howie Kendrick last December, the same day the Marlins sent him to the Dodgers as part of the deal that sent Dee Gordon and Dan Haren to Miami.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago Plus (check your cable/satellite listings for the channel).
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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.