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Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds Preview, Friday 4/21, 6:10 CT

The Cubs begin a series against a team they dominated last year.

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Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Cubs picked up half a game on the division-leading Reds (that still doesn't sound right!) when Cincinnati lost to the Orioles Thursday night.

Thus this game is a battle for first place. Hopefully the Cubs take over the top spot tonight and don't relinquish it the rest of the season.

This weekend is also a homecoming for Kyle Schwarber, who is from the Cincinnati area:

"It will be a lot of fun to see friends, family, the whole nine yards there," Schwarber said. "And I have a new nephew, so I get to see him. I'm really looking forward to that.

"You don't realize how much you miss your family until you see them. It's that kind of deal. I'm ready to see a few people and be able to catch up with everyone."

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Schwarber LF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Russell SS, Heyward RF, Contreras C, Baez 2B, Lester P, Almora CF

Reds lineup:

Hamilton CF, Peraza 2B, Votto 1B, Duvall LF, Suarez 3B, Cozart SS, Schebler RF, Barnhart C, Adleman P

Jon Lester vs. Tim Adleman

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Lester picked up where he left off last year and has had three very good starts in 2017. Last year against the Reds, he had a 3.03 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in five starts covering 32⅔ innings. Those numbers would have been better except for this October 1 game, five runs in five innings in garbage time. Apart from that Lester's ERA vs. the Reds was 1.95 in 2016. Current Reds are hitting .234 (25-for-107) against Lester, and he needs to watch out for Billy Hamilton, who's 6-for-10. I don't have specifics on that, but I'm betting some of those six hits are bunts.

Tim Adleman's 2017 season so far consists of four relief innings (two hits, one run) against the Brewers five days ago. Last year he made two starts against the Cubs and allowed five earned runs in 11⅓ innings (3.97 ERA). Addison Russell and Willson Contreras hit homers off him. Adleman, who's 29 and not really a prospect anymore, also made one start at Triple-A Louisville this year (seven innings, one run).

Today's game is on WGN. It’s also being carried by MLB Network (outside the Chicago and Cincinnati markets).

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

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The 2017 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2016. 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.

Get tickets to Cubs games from our partner Stubhub here.

Discuss amongst yourselves.