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Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds Preview, Sunday 4/23, 12:10 CT

The Cubs have a shot at their first series sweep of 2017.

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David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Cubs swept a series, it was against the Reds, last September 19-20-21 at Wrigley Field.

They've got a pretty good chance to do that again in this series. While the Reds did get off to a good start this year, it's pretty clear that they still don't really have the pitching to compete in the division.

So, this would be a good time to pick up another win, and the three-game sweep.

Fun fact from Saturday's game:

The Cubs’ #3 hitter, Anthony Rizzo, hit a three-run home run in the top of the first inning on Saturday afternoon. The Reds’ #3 hitter, Joey Votto, hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the first inning. It’s the second time in the modern era (since 1900) that each team’s third batter in the lineup hit a three-run homer in the first inning. It also happened in a Yankees-Orioles game in 2004 when Alex Rodriguez did it for the Yankees and Miguel Tejada for the Orioles.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Schwarber LF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist 2B, Russell SS, Heyward RF, Montero C, Lackey P, Jay CF

Reds lineup:

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

John Lackey vs. Bronson Arroyo

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

Wait, John Lackey vs. Bronson Arroyo? What year is this, 2006?

Lackey (419 career starts) and Arroyo (372 career starts) rank third and fourth among active pitchers in games started (Bartolo Colon and CC Sabathia are first and second).

Yet they have never faced each other, not even when they were both in the A.L. more than a decade ago. Before 2017 Arroyo had not pitched in the majors since 2014, recovering from Tommy John surgery. He's been bad so far this year, already allowing five home runs in just 15 innings. You might note that the Cubs have already hit six home runs in this series and that GABP is a launching pad.

Lackey's been fine this year once he's gotten past the first inning. First inning ERA this year: 15.00 (six first-inning runs, three innings). ERA in all other innings: 1.80 (three total runs, 15 total innings). If he can figure out that first-inning thing, he should be just fine.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago.

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.

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Discuss amongst yourselves.