As I noted in the series preview, these are two teams that don't meet frequently, except in spring training.
As noted by Adam Morris of Lone Star Ball, the Rangers and Cubs are in similar situations -- both ran out to double-digit division leads in June, but have struggled so far in July (Rangers: 3-7, Cubs: 2-8). The Rangers' pitching has been even worse than the Cubs' in their current losing skein: they've been outscored 87-48 in July (the Cubs have been outscored 75-45 this month).
Something's gotta give. Let's hope it's the Rangers pitching staff.
Here is your once-a-series reminder about SB Nation's daily fantasy partner FanDuel. If you want to play, click this link.
Here are today's particulars.
Zobrist LF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Contreras C, Russell SS, Heyward RF, Baez 2B, Almora CF, Hendricks P
Odor 2B, Desmond CF, Mazara RF, Beltre 3B, Fielder 1B, Rua LF, Andrus SS, Chirinos C, Perez P
Over his last five appearances (four starts), Kyle Hendricks has a 1.08 ERA and 1.120 WHIP. Repeat after me: "All he does is get guys out." He has never faced the Rangers; the only member of the Rangers who has faced him is Ian Desmond (2-for-5).
Martin Perez has been in and out of the Rangers rotation for the last four seasons -- "out" mostly due to injury. He's had an injury-free 2016 and appears to be a pitch-to-contact guy with only 4.3 strikeouts per nine innings. Since the beginning of June he's struggled, with a 5.01 ERA and 1.573 WHIP over his last seven starts. He has never faced the Cubs and the only Cub who has faced him is Ben Zobrist (1-for-5).
Today's game is on CSN Chicago. It's also available on MLB Network outside the Chicago and Dallas markets.
Please visit our SB Nation Rangers site Lone Star Ball. If you do go there to interact with Rangers 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.