CHICAGO Teams

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4 first-place teams, all in Chicago

Tonight marks the first time in history that four first-place teams are playing in the same city at the same time: Nationals-Cubs and Red Sox-White Sox. (via Elias)

Jesse Rogers ESPN Staff Writer 

First line from former Cubs manager Dusty Baker: "This is different than the old interview room."

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Jesse Rogers ESPN Staff Writer 

Cubs recent call up Ryan Kalish gets a surprise start on Thursday night against the Nationals. Out of baseball last year he was ready to play independent ball but the Cubs called and here he is.

Stats & Info

Winds keep blowing in Chicago's favor

It can't get much better for Chicago, where the Cubs and the White Sox are both among baseball's elite in several key categories this season.

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Jesse Rogers ESPN Staff Writer 

Cubs RF Jason Heyward is hopeful he can start tomorrow as he rehabs a sore wrist. He addressed reporters while a Mariachi band started playing in the clubhouse in honor of Cinco de mayo.

Jesse Rogers ESPN Staff Writer 

The Cubs called up relief pitcher Spencer Patton on Thursday after placing righty Neil Ramirez on the bereavement list. Patton pitched very well in spring training and then threw 10 scoreless innings for Triple-A Iowa earning 4 saves before coming up. He's available tonight versus Washington and will wear No. 40.

Jesse Rogers ESPN Staff Writer 

Cubs OF Jason Heyward won't start his fourth consecutive game as he nurses a sore wrist. Heyward said it bothers him more in cold weather so maybe Friday he'll return. Temps are expected to be 20 degrees warmer than Thursday night. Recent call up Ryan Kalish will start in LF as Joe Maddon elects a defense first mindset with pitcher Kyle Hendricks on the mound. He pitches to contact. Backups Tommy La Stella and Tim Federowicz also are in the lineup.

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Dominik ranks his most improved positional groups (3:27)
Stats & Info

Grab the popcorn, this is gonna be good

Prepare for a battle of pitchers as the Cubs take on the Nationals in a four-game series starting Thursday. Chicago ranks first in all four of these pitching categories, while Washington is right on its heels at No. 2.

Eddie Matz ESPN Senior Writer 

Cubs v. Nats. Two best records in baseball. Chicago's sweep in Pittsburgh was impressive, but so was Washington taking five of six in St. Louis and KC. Here's a fun fact: If the Nats manage to take 3 of 4 at Wrigley, then despite having managed nearly 5,000 combined games, Dusty Baker and Joe Maddon will have the same exact winning percentage (.528).

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Bears will need protection next year

Chicago selected five defensive players in the first six picks the team had at their disposal in the 2016 draft. Offensive lineman Roderick Johnson would fit the bill if the Bears decide they need offense in the next draft. Way-too-early 2017 mock draft (Insider)

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Native American imagery in sports (6:55)
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5hBrett Okamoto

Johnson-Teixeira fight announced for July event

A light heavyweight matchup between title contenders Anthony Johnson and Glover Teixeira will take place on the main card of a UFC on Fox event in July.

Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

Chargers get O-line help in new mock

It's never too early to start looking at the next draft. Todd McShay has the Chargers selecting Notre Dame product Mike McGlinchey, cousin of Atlanta QB Matt Ryan, with their first-round pick in his first 2017 mock draft. Way-too-early 2017 mock draft (Insider)

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Arrieta's stats are ludicrous, and Dallas Braden can't even handle it (2:51)
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Whitehair is a 'plug-and-play starter'

Mel Kiper Jr. sees Cody Whitehair as an instant starter for Chicago. He has plenty of experience at tackle, but the Bears should kick the rookie inside for now. Kiper: Impact rookies (Insider)

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Stephen A.: Barkley's no softy, but he's no Oakley (1:52)
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Greeny says Arrieta having best stretch of starts ever (1:20)