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wrigley field from right bleachers[I'll be at today's game in the right field bleachers (down in the corner by the LED board/party patio thing). Look for the guy with a blue BN shirt and fancy blue and yellow shoes. Come say hi. Watch baseball. Be merry.

If you're not able to meet up in the bleachers, come to Goose Island (on Clark, south of the ballpark) to get a beer - I'm going to guess we'll be in the back bar area. That's where I'll head, anyway.]

Jeff Samardzija starts for the Cubs today, as they look to sweep the Yankees in this two-gamer (as the Yankees did to the Cubs in New York). Thanks to a rough outing last night by Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija is now your Major League ERA leader, at 1.62.

The Cubs face Chase Whitley, who is not Masahiro Tanaka, and who has been pulled into emergency service by a rash of injuries in the Yankee rotation. He’s made one other start this year, and, although he didn’t give up any earned runs, he lasted just 4.2 innings.

A win today, and the Cubs would have won four in a row for the first time since the first week of July in 2013.

Junior Lake’s strikeout rate is down to just 37%, which is quite a rapid descent from where it was just two weeks ago. And, of his two strikeouts last night against Tanaka, only one was swinging – the other was on a borderline strike three call. I don’t want to create false optimism, and Lake’s ceiling is still pretty limited if he isn’t playing in center field, but … I really want to believe he can make adjustments and get that K rate down to 25%. If he can, he’s a totally useful player. Maybe even more than that.

No Alfonso Soriano in RF today, which bums me out. Seeing Ichiro in person before he retires will be cool, though.

Game Info

New York Yankees (23-21) at Chicago Cubs (16-27), 1:20 CT on CSN, MLBN.

Game Thread and Series Preview

Game threads now live here in the comments – and with Disqus, they should be even more enjoyable.

The Series Preview lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Chase Whitley (0.00 ERA, 2.66 FIP, 3.22 xFIP; 2.00 K/BB)

versus

Jeff Samardzija (1.62 ERA, 2.87 FIP, 3.48 xFIP; 2.68 K/BB)

New York Yankees Lineup

1. Brett Gardner, LF

2. Derek Jeter, SS

3. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF

4. Mark Teixeira, 1B

5. Brian McCann, C

6. Yangervis Solarte, 3B

7. Ichiro Suzuki, RF

8. Brian Roberts, 2B

9. Chase Whitley, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Emilio Bonifacio, CF

2. Junior Lake, LF

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Starlin Castro, SS

5. Luis Valbuena, 2B

6. Welington Castillo, C

7. Nate Schierholtz, RF

8. Mike Olt, 3B

9. Jeff Samardzija, P

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