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Chicago Cubs vs. Toronto Blue Jays preview, Friday 8/18, 1:20 CT

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The Cubs welcome visitors from Canada.

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Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

“Visitors from Canada,” of course, is just because the Blue Jays players work there. The only actual Canadian who’s played for the Jays this year is Russell Martin, a native of Montreal, but he’s currently on the disabled list.

I’ve seen quite a few people wearing Blue Jays garb around Wrigley the last few days, in town early, I suppose. Since it has been 12 years since these two teams last met at the corner of Clark & Addison, it’s likely a destination trip for many Blue Jays fans.

Here is the boxscore from the last Jays/Cubs game at Wrigley before today, June 8, 2005. Not one player who appeared in that game is still active, though one, Eric Hinske, will be at Wrigley today as the Cubs’ assistant hitting coach. He was Toronto’s first baseman that day. You’ll also note Reed Johnson as the Jays’ leadoff man that afternoon; he later became a well-loved Cubs outfielder.

Tempus fugit. Let’s make some more history this afternoon by starting another winning streak.

Oh, one more note. Justin Wilson turns 30 today, so be nice to him on his birthday.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Almora CF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist LF, Happ 2B, Caratini C, Heyward RF, Baez SS, Arrieta P

Blue Jays lineup:

Bautista RF, Donaldson 3B, Smoak 1B, Pearce LF, Montero C, Pillar CF, Goins SS, Barney 2B, Happ P

Jake Arrieta vs. J.A. Happ

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Arrieta since July 1: eight starts, 2.10 ERA, 0.916 WHIP, at least six innings in all but one of those outings. He’s also been somewhat better at home (3.47 ERA) than on the road (3.86 ERA), though only eight of his 24 starts have been at Wrigley Field. He’s allowed just four home runs in 46⅔ innings at Wrigley; in twice as many innings on the road he’s given up 14 homers.

Jake had a good start vs. the Jays September 9, 2014 in Toronto, though many of the guys in that Toronto lineup aren’t on the team anymore. Current Jays are just 7-for-47 (.149) against him.

Hard to believe J.A. Happ has been around for a decade, and the Blue Jays are his fifth team. He had a really good year in 2016, and has been decent but not quite as good this year. Three starts in August: 1.45 ERA, 1.179 WHIP. He used to face the Cubs quite a bit when he was a member of the Astros and Pirates. The last time was September 15, 2015 in Pittsburgh; Happ threw well, but Jon Lester threw a CG win that night.

As far as I know, J.A. Happ, a native of downstate Illinois who went to Northwestern, is no relation to Ian Happ, who grew up in the Pittsburgh area.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago. It’s also on MLB Network outside the Chicago market.

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.