|Ben Zobrist - 2B||Socrates Brito - CF|
|Jason Heyward - CF||Phil Gosselin - 2B|
|Kris Bryant - RF||Paul Goldschmidt - 1B|
|Anthony Rizzo - 1B||David Peralta - RF|
|Jorge Soler - LF||Brandon Drury - LF|
|Tommy La Stella - 3B||Jake Lamb - 3B|
|Miguel Montero - C||Chris Owings - SS|
|Addison Russell - SS||Chris Herrmann - C|
|Jake Arrieta - RHP||Shelby Miller - RHP|
This may be a somewhat terser preview than usual, as I'm currently awaiting the arrival of a new washer-dryer to SnakePit Towers (well, it's new to us - actually arriving through the good graces of a friend, so we'll take it). This will likely involve me having to help lug the thing downstairs to the laundry room, which will be eating into previously scheduled preview time. Though I'm kinda tempted just to write "PITCH MOAR BETTER" and leave it at that, because it's rather clear that's what Miller needs to do, if we're to have any chance at all of securing a split of the series against the Cubs.
And, by "any chance", that will also mean the offense having to score off Jake Arrieta, something which nobody in the regular season has done since September 16 last year. His starts thereafter have been a complete-game shutout against Milwaukee, seven innings of one-hit, scoreless ball versus the Pirates, six innings of two hit, scoreless ball against the Brewers again, and last Monday, seven innings where the Angels managed two hits and no runs. If you're keeping score at home.... you won't have been overtaxed, but that's 29 innings in total, allowing just eight hits, with two walks and 33 strikeouts. This is not going to be easy, to put it mildly.
We'll also have to do it with the B-lineup, missing Nick Ahmed, Jean Segura, Welington Castillo and Yasmany Tomas, though a couple of these (no prizes for spotting which two) have not exactly been setting the saguaro on fire this season to date. We have a middle-infield of Gosselin and Owiogs, Drury in left and Herrmann behind the plate, which falls into the category of "interesting, and let's leave it at that" in terms of the analysis you're going to get from me. I'll be watching, more in hope than genuine expectation, and we'll see what happens. since_98 will be bringing the first guest recap of 2016, so stick around for that.