Just to give a bit of perspective about the Cubs' recent skid, here's the team record after 72 games in each of the seven previous playoff seasons in the divisional play era:
2015: 39-33 2008: 45-27 2007: 33-39 2003: 39-33 1998: 41-31 1989: 40-32 1984: 39-33
Feel better now?
Here are today's particulars.
Heyward RF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Contreras LF, Baez 2B, Russell SS, Montero C, Lackey P, Almora CF
Anthony Rizzo returns, and Willson Contreras starts at yet another position.
Suzuki CF, Prado 3B, Yelich LF, Stanton RF, Bour 1B, Dietrich 2B, Realmuto C, Hechavarria SS, Clemens P
Since May 1, John Lackey has a 1.97 ERA and 0.888 WHIP in 10 starts covering 68⅔ innings, with 70 strikeouts. He faced the Marlins once last year, August 15 in St. Louis, and threw 8⅓ innings of two-run ball with six strikeouts. The one Marlin who has the most history with Lackey is Ichiro Suzuki (36-for-119, six doubles, a triple, a home run).
Paul Clemens, who is not related to Roger, was originally drafted by the Braves in 2008. He wound up traded to the Astros in the Michael Bourn deal and made 48 appearances with them in 2013 and 2014 without much success. Bouncing around, he spent 2015 in the minors before the Marlins signed him last offseason. He has made one start for them this year (five innings, seven hits, three runs). The righthander has never faced the Cubs. David Ross went 1-for-1 against him when both were in the A.L.
Today's game is on WGN. For affiliate information in the Illinois/Indiana/Iowa Cubs TV market click here.
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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.