Complete-game shutouts are fairly rare these days. You already know that. There have been 22 of them thrown so far this season, averaging less than one per team (and the Cardinals alone account for four of those).
Back-to-back complete-game shutouts by one pitcher are even rarer. How rare, you ask? The last Cubs pitcher to accomplish that feat was... Steve Trout, who did it against the Padres July 6, 1987 and against the Dodgers July 11, 1987. His reward for that was to be traded to the Yankees two days later. (Seriously. Look at his transactions log.)
Jeff Samardzija probably won't throw another CG shutout tonight, but he's coming off the best start of his career. The Cubs, at least, have a real good shot at extending their winning streak to six. Also, a win tonight would move the Cubs back to .500 at Wrigley Field; they're currently 13-14 at home.
DeJesus CF, Castro SS, Rizzo 1B, Soriano LF, Schierholtz RF, Castillo C, Valbuena 3B, Barney 2B, Samardzija P
Parra RF, Gregorius SS, Goldschmidt 1B, Montero C, Prado 3B, Kubel LF, Pollock CF, Bloomquist 2B, Kennedy P
Today's Starting Pitchers
|2013 - Jeff Samardzija||3-6||11||11||1||1||0||0||72.2||52||27||23||6||24||80||2.85||1.05|
|2013 - Ian Kennedy||2-3||11||10||0||0||0||0||61.1||58||34||32||8||23||50||4.70||1.32|
After a bit of a rough go for a few weeks, Jeff Samardzija has been dominant in his last three starts, posting a 1.13 ERA and 0.625 WHIP, averaging eight innings per start and striking out 23 in 24 innings. Keep up that sort of thing, and he could find himself on the All-Star team. His one start vs. Arizona in 2012 -- June 22 at Chase Field -- was during the period when he and the team were both in a down phase. He's a different pitcher now, it seems to me.
Ian Kennedy made two starts against the Cubs in 2012, and gave up nine runs in 10⅔ innings, issuing eight walks. Current Cubs are hitting .274 (29-for-106) against him with six home runs (three by Alfonso Soriano). Kennedy hasn't been nearly as good this year as some past years, and posted a 4.56 ERA in May (four starts). Looks like someone the Cubs can continue their current hitting against.
Today's game is on Fox. This game is not going to be seen in many TV markets, unless one of the other games gets rain-delayed. It'll be seen in the northern half of Illinois, the northern two-thirds of Indiana, a small portion of Nebraska and Iowa, and Arizona. That's it. Here's the entire coverage map for tonight's games. Announcers will be Justin Kutcher and Bob Brenly. Don't know much of anything about Kutcher, but at least you'll get to hear BB call another Cubs game... if you're in one of the few markets carrying it.
Here's the scoop on game threads for 2013. 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.