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Chicago Cubs vs. Baltimore Orioles preview, Friday 7/14, 6:05 CT

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The second half has to be better than the first. (Right?)

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Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

BALTIMORE — I went to the last series (and to date, the only series) the Cubs played here in 2003. So it seemed appropriate to re-visit Camden Yards for this year’s series. Here’s a fun fact about this series:

Here’s a not-so-fun fact about the Cubs’ current status:

Let’s have the Cubs break that string!

Also, you might need to keep this handy tonight:

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Zobrist LF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Contreras C, Schwarber DH, Happ CF, Heyward RF, Baez 2B, Russell SS

Orioles lineup:

Jones CF, Machado 3B, Schoop 2B, Trumbo DH, Davis 1B, Mancini LF, Castillo C, Rickard RF, Tejada SS

Mike Montgomery vs. Kevin Gausman

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The choice of Mike Montgomery to start this game appears odd, on its surface. Jon Lester would have been on regular rest to start tonight, and Montgomery was pretty bad in his last two starts. And it’s not as if he has any sort of great track record against the Orioles, either; in his career he has made two relief appearances against them, three scoreless innings (both last year).

Chalk this up to another hunch by Joe, then, I suppose. Hope Mike does better than he did in his last two outings.

Kevin Gausman had a very good year for the Orioles in 2016, posting 4.2 bWAR. This year he’s just been bad, with an ERA approaching six and negative bWAR.

Gausman pitched against the Cubs the last time these two teams met, August 22, 2014 at Wrigley Field. Javier Baez homered off him that day. Ben Zobrist is 6-for-11 against him with three doubles and four walks.

Maybe this one will work out in the Cubs’ favor.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com 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.