The Cubs begin Sunday's action with a run differential of -2 (170 runs scored, 172 allowed). (It would have been 0, if not for the home run allowed by Hector Rondon in the ninth inning Saturday.)
This gives the Cubs a Pythagorean record of .500 -- that's three wins better than their current actual record. Those of you who have studied this sort of thing know that most teams don't have a differential of three wins or losses from their Pythagorean number for an entire season, much less only a quarter of one.
The Nationals, for example, have a run differential of -8 -- and are three games over .500. The Giants are at 0, and are five games over .500. We know the primary reasons for the Cubs' poor record despite a decent run differential -- bad bullpen work early on, iffy defense, and inability to hit with RISP. Still, their 170 runs scored stands just below league average going into today's game (173) and their runs allowed total (172) is the same amount better than league average (175).
League average isn't something to aspire to, but it's a step. The Cubs are 13-11 since their low point of the year (5-13). They appear able to keep up this pace. Steps in the right direction, if nothing else.
DeJesus CF, Castro SS, Rizzo 1B, Sweeney LF, Schierholtz RF, Valbuena 3B, Castillo C, Barney 2B, Wood P
A day off for Alfonso Soriano and a chance for Ryan Sweeney to show what he can do.
Murphy 2B, Turner 1B, Wright 3B, Byrd RF, Duda LF, Recker C, Tejada SS, Lagares CF, Gee P
Today's Starting Pitchers
|2013 - Travis Wood||4-2||11||8||0||0||0||0||53.1||32||13||12||4||17||36||2.02||.92|
|2013 - Dillon Gee||2-5||8||8||0||0||0||0||39.2||53||28||27||5||16||27||6.13||1.74|
Travis Wood, as you know, has been very good this year -- the Cubs' most consistent starter. (Who would have guessed that would be the case, when spring training began?) He made two starts against the Mets in 2012 and gave up just two earned runs in 13 innings (and the Cubs won both games). Current Mets are hitting .234 (11-for-47) against him. I feel good about this one.
Dillon Gee started against the Cubs July 7, 2012 in New York and threw one of his best games of last season. After the game he was rushed to the hospital with a rare blood clot syndrome that put him out for the rest of the season. This year he's been inconsistent; he's had a couple of good outings, but several bad ones and hasn't gone beyond the sixth inning since his first. Current Cubs are hitting .343 against him (23-for-67). His former teammate Scott Hairston has never faced him. Could this be the day Hairston starts to hit?
Today's game is on WGN.
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.