wrigley stands crowdJust like that, an All-Star break and a couple wins later, and the mood has turned just a bit. The Cubs have a chance to sweep the Rangers, a team that came into this series in its own funk, but still has more wins than any team in the American League. Just as it seems things have a way of disintegrating rapidly, so, too, are they able to become wonderful. When we say “that’s baseball,” it doesn’t always mean bad things.

If the Cubs want to pull off the sweep, though, they’ll have to beat a guy who no-hit them the last time he pitched in this ballpark. Cole Hamels has gotten rather solid results this year, as he tends to get, but his peripherals don’t look as strong as they have in the recent past. So here’s hoping the bats are able to string together some hits and slug a little bit, while also taking some walks (Hamels’ 9.8% walk rate this year is the highest it’s been in his entire career).

John Lackey will, like the broader Cubs team, try to turn his mini-stretch of ugly around. Although he’s been able to go six or more innings in four of his last five starts, he’s got a disastrous 6.91 ERA during that time.



Game Info

Chicago Cubs (55-35) at Texas Rangers (54-38), 1:20 CT on ABC-7, TBS, 670 The Score.

Game Thread and Series Preview

Your game thread is down there in the comments, so have fun. But keep it “safe for work” type fun, all right?

The Series Preview lives hereThe Lineup Discussion lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Cubs: John Lackey (R): 3.70 ERA, 3.78 FIP, 3.84 xFIP; 3.33 K/BB

versus

Rangers: Cole Hamels (L): 3.21 ERA, 4.55 FIP, 4.11 xFIP; 2.32 K/BB



Texas Rangers Lineup:

1. Rougned Odor, 2B

2. Ian Desmond, CF

3. Adrian Beltre, 3B

4. Prince Fielder, 1B

5. Ryan Rua, LF

6. Nomar Mazara, RF

7. Elvis Andrus, SS

8. Robinson Chirinos, C

9. Cole Hamels, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup:

1. Javy Baez, 2B

2. Kris Bryant, 3B

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Willson Contreras, C

5. Addison Russell, SS

6. Jason Heyward, RF

7. Matt Szczur, LF

8. Albert Almora Jr., CF

9. John Lackey, P




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