This unusual starting time was created so that the Dodgers would have a bit of extra time getting to Chicago from New York, where they played Sunday night. The Cubs, due to the agreement on the night-game limit, couldn't switch this game to a 7:05 start. Thus the 4:05 start is likely a compromise to help out the Dodgers, who likely didn't get to their Chicago hotel until around 2 a.m. It will be the first 4:05 p.m. regular-season start in Wrigley Field history.
Ben Zobrist's wife Julianna will sing the national anthem before today's game. Here's how she feels about that:
It is amazing. The national anthem is one of my favorite songs to sing. I come from somewhat of a military family — my sister is an officer in the Coast Guard. I don't take it lightly. I want to honor the song and honor our nation by the way that I sing it, which is typically very straightforward. I love to hear people singing along with me. I'm not going to prolong the song to be five minutes long. I think it was written well enough to maintain its own integrity with my having to change it. It means more than the Cubs know for me to sing that song on Memorial Day.
In my opinion, too many anthem singers "embellish" -- and make this song sound awful. Glad to hear that Julianna Zobrist will do it in more of a straightforward way.
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Here are today's particulars.
Zobrist RF, Heyward CF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Soler LF, Russell SS, Baez 2B, Ross C, Hammel P
Utley 2B, Seager SS, Turner 3B, Gonzalez 1B, Pederson CF, Grandal C, Puig RF, Crawford LF, Wood P
Jason Hammel has gone at least six innings in seven of his nine starts, and had a very good outing in his last one against the Cardinals (7⅓ innings, four hits, one run). He made two starts against the Dodgers last year, covering 12⅔ innings in which he allowed three runs. His outing vs. the Dodgers at Wrigley, June 23, 2015, was excellent: 7⅔ shutout innings, just two hits allowed. More of this, please.
Alex Wood had a 5.18 ERA after the Rays hit him hard on May 4. He's been better since then, posting a 1.96 ERA in his last three starts with a WHIP of 0.804 and 27 strikeouts in 18⅓ innings. He was the Dodgers starting pitcher in Jake Arrieta's no-hitter last August 30, in which he pitched decently (two runs in six innings). Current Cubs are a small-sample-size 6-for-27 (.222) against him with one home run (Kris Bryant).
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.