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Chicago Cubs vs. Arizona Diamondbacks Preview, Thursday 4/7, 8:40 CT

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The Cubs just spent several weeks in the Phoenix area. Now they get to spend four more days there.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

ON THE ROAD TO CHICAGO -- By the time you read this, I should be nearly home; the plan is to be home in time to see the first pitch of this game in Phoenix.

If the Cubs had begun the season at Chase Field (as they did in 2005), I'd have stayed for that. But after a busy spring, it was too difficult to think about going to Anaheim, then back to Phoenix for this four-game series, then to Chicago for the home opener on Monday. The season-opening road trip gave me time to get home and get a few things done before the Cubs open the Wrigley season.

So, here's to a winning series in Phoenix and coming home in first place.

Here are today's particulars.

Cubs lineup:

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

Diamondbacks lineup:

Segura 2B, Ahmed SS, Goldschmidt 1B, Peralta RF, Castillo C, Lamb 3B, Tomas LF, Owings CF, De La Rosa P

John Lackey

vs

Rubby De La Rosa

John Lackey hasn't faced most of the current Diamondbacks; the only one who has more than a handful of at-bats against him is Jean Segura (8-for-19), from his time with the Brewers. The last time he pitched at Chase Field, August 26, 2015, he threw seven innings of one-run ball, the only run a homer by Paul Goldschmidt. I'll take another one of those outings, please, for Lackey's debut as a Cub.

Rubby De La Rosa has a small sample size against the Cubs -- 12-for-45 (.267) with one homer allowed, to Kris Bryant. That home run was this one:

That hit near the top of the left-field video board at Wrigley last September. Chase Field is pretty big, but maybe Bryant can match that one off De La Rosa tonight.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago Plus (check your cable/satellite listings for the channel).

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 Diamondbacks site AZ Snakepit. If you do go there to interact with Diamondbacks 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.