The Cubs will try to win a series in Cincinnati for the first time this year.
The Cubs have won exactly one series in Cincinnati since 2010 -- taking two of three from the Reds from September 9-11, 2013.
They're 3-6 against the Reds at Great American Ball Park this year.
But these aren't the same Cubs that lost those earlier series. Despite the loss Wednesday evening, this team played tough even when going down by four runs. I like that. That's going to do a world of good for them in the future, having to fight back after their own errors helped the Reds win.
Take this game and series, Cubs. It'd be nice to do that, for any number of reasons.
Here are today's particulars.
Coghlan LF, Baez 2B, Castro SS, Valbuena 3B, Soler RF, Alcantara CF, Valaika 1B, Baker C, Arrieta P
Hamilton CF, Frazier 1B, Phillips 2B, Mesoraco C, Bruce RF, Negron 3B, Schumaker LF, Cozart SS, Axelrod P
After a brutally bad outing in Colorado to start August, Jake Arrieta is back on form with his last three starts, in which he's thrown 21⅓ innings, posted a 0.703 WHIP and 1.27 ERA and struck out 18. It's unlikely, but if Arrieta were to throw 8⅔ innings today, he'd wind up the day with 133 innings, which would be enough to qualify him for the ERA lead (it's the Cubs' 133rd game today). Arrieta's current ERA of 2.53 would rank fourth in the National League if he had enough innings, behind Clayton Kershaw, Johnny Cueto and Adam Wainwright, pretty good company.
If Arrieta doesn't reach the qualifiers list with this start, he should with his next one.
Dylan Axelrod. Well. His sale to the Reds last month completely flew under the radar, but here he is, a former White Sox pitcher who has made one start with Cincinnati since his acquisition, the second game of a doubleheader against the Rockies 11 days ago. He threw all right, allowing two runs in six innings with seven strikeouts, and made one start at Triple-A Louisville five days ago in the interim.
Despite having made 30 starts with the White Sox from 2011-13, Axelrod never faced the Cubs during that time. He's faced exactly two players on the Cubs' active roster: Chris Coghlan (1-for-3) and Luis Valbuena (0-for-2).
In short, who knows?
Today's game is on WGN. In some parts of the USA this game will be on MLB Network (check your cable/satellite listings).
For 2014, we are going to have the same game-thread routine as 2013. Here's how it works.
You'll find the game preview -- like this one -- posting as the first link in the StoryStream™, which will then contain all the overflow threads and the recap. The recap will also be on the front page as a separate post; once I post a game recap, the stream for each game will be retitled "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.
In general, game previews will post two hours before game time. Exception: for day games after night games, that will usually be 90 minutes.
You will also be able to find the First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads 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 this StoryStream™. As I've done for each regular-season game for several years now, we'll have the First Pitch thread at five minutes before game time (moved up from actual game time per your requests), then an overflow one hour, two hours and 2:45 after game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.
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