The last time two teams met with this big a difference in their records this early in the season was in 2001, when the 40-12 Seattle Mariners played a three-game series at home against the 15-38 Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
The Cubs are due to go on a long winning streak, I'd say. 15 games? Not predicting that, but they certainly have a good chance of sweeping the Braves, who are the majors' worst team in their home park (6-23), while the Cubs have baseball's best road record at 19-9.
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Here are today's particulars.
A couple hours after that lineup was posted, this news was released:
Anthony Rizzo is experiencing back tightness and has been scratched from today's lineup. He is day-to-day.— #VoteCubs (@Cubs) June 10, 2016
So -- here's the correct Cubs lineup:
Fowler CF, Heyward RF, Bryant 3B, Zobrist 2B, Montero C, Baez 1B, Russell SS, Almora LF, Hammel P
While Javier Baez has played four MLB games at first base (one last year, three this year), it will be his first MLB start at the position. He didn't play any first base in the minor leagues.
Inciarte CF, d'Arnaud SS, Freeman 1B, Markakis RF, Garcia 3B, Flowers C, Peterson 2B, Norris P, Smith LF
Jason Hammel has been very good this year. He allowed just one hit in his last start against the Diamondbacks (unfortunately, it was a two-run homer, but the Cubs won the game anyway). Current members of the Braves are hitting .385 (30-for-78) against Hammel. Most of that is Nick Markakis and Freddie Freeman (14-for-27), so hold those guys down and this could be a good start for Hammel.
Bud Norris. Hmmm. Was Rodrigo Lopez not available?
Seriously... Norris was once a decent No. 4 or No. 5 type starter, but since the beginning of 2015 he has just been bad. In 56 appearances (17 starts) since then, he has a 6.21 ERA, a WHIP of 1.589 and 21 home runs allowed in 126 innings. He had an 8.74 ERA as a starter in April, when he was moved to the bullpen. He did throw five decent innings (one run) against the Dodgers in a start on June 4. Current Cubs are hitting only .233 (18-for-77) against Norris, but with 16 walks and three home runs (Jason Heyward, David Ross, Ben Zobrist).
Today's game is on CSN Chicago.
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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.