As of this morning the Cubs have a 25 percent chance of winning the World Series, according to FiveThirtyEight's model. That's a chance better than twice that of any other team. Others at 10 percent or higher: Red Sox (11 percent), Blue Jays (10 percent), Indians (10 percent), Dodgers (10 percent).
The FiveThirtyEight model also says the Cubs will win 104 games. To do that they'd have to go "only" 17-10 in their remaining 27 games. That would actually be somewhat worse than their winning percentage in their last 27 games -- they're 20-7 in that span.
Good times. Let's finish this homestand with a win, and a winning series.
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist 2B, Russell SS, Heyward RF, Contreras C, Coghlan LF, Lackey P
The Giants lineup was not not available at the time I wrote this preview.
John Lackey has been on the disabled list with shoulder soreness since his last start on August 14 against the Cardinals, in which he was doing pretty well (6⅔ innings, four hits, one unearned run). He was having a good second half, too -- 2.59 ERA, 0.878 WHIP in six starts.
He has not faced the Giants this year, and didn't face them last year, either. In fact, he hasn't faced any Giants team since 2009, when he was still with the Angels. The only current Giants who have more than three at-bats against him are Eduardo Nunez (4-for-13, three doubles, three walks) and Denard Span (2-for-10).
Not much to go on there, at least going off past performance. Hoping he's 100 percent healthy.
Johnny Cueto is having a very good year and is a Cy Young candidate.
But. Since the All-Star break he's got a 4.25 ERA and 1.358 WHIP and eight home runs allowed in nine starts and 53 innings. He's allowed at least four runs in four of those starts. Could he be wearing down?
The last time he faced the Cubs was June 12, 2015 at Wrigley Field; he allowed four runs in seven innings, though with nine strikeouts. Should be an interesting matchup.
Today's game is on ABC7 Chicago. For affiliate information in the Illinois/Indiana/Iowa Cubs TV market click here. The game will also be carried nationally on TBS -- no blackouts. Announcers: and Ron Darling.
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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.