After flirting with a run toward the .500 mark, the Cubs have now lost five straight games. The season-high losing streak is six; it's been more than two months since that happened (late May). Even with the latest run of losses, the Cubs' run differential stands at -30, which still puts them four games behind their Pythagorean W/L projection (53-59, as compared to the actual record of 49-63). While most teams with similar run differentials now have similar records, the Yankees, at -17, are still two games over .500.
This Cubs team is still fairly close to being a .500 club in terms of talent (at least I think so). I'd like to see them make a run at it. Perhaps they can start tonight.
Lake CF, Barney 2B, Castro SS, Navarro C, Neal LF, Ransom 1B, Gillespie RF, Murphy 3B, Wood P
A day off for Anthony Rizzo against a tough lefty. He could use a day off, I suppose, though he's started to hit for power again in his last few games. Let's hope it works as well as Starlin Castro's day off in June. Also, Thomas Neal gets his first start as a Cub. Good luck to Thomas.
M. Young 3B, Frandsen 2B, Rollins SS, Brown LF, Ruf 1B, D. Young RF, Mayberry CF, Kratz C, Hamels P
Look at the timestamp on this article -- only about four hours before the posting time of this game preview -- stating that the Phillies have benched Delmon Young. Guess that didn't last long.
Today's Starting Pitchers
|2013 - Travis Wood||7-8||26||22||0||0||0||0||138.2||108||50||47||10||49||97||3.05||1.13|
|2013 - Cole Hamels||4-13||23||23||0||0||0||0||149.0||144||69||64||15||40||134||3.87||1.23|
Travis Wood had his worst outing of 2013 in his last start, and will be making his first start of the 2013 season with an ERA over 3.00. That said, he has not faced the Phillies as a member of the Cubs and current Phillies are a small-sample-size 7-for-28 against him. I'd like to see Wood finish the year strong. Every pitcher is entitled to a bad outing or two; let's hope that last one is it for T-Wood.
Cole Hamels signed a bazillion-dollar contract (OK, OK, so it was $144 million, not a bazillion) last year that will keep him in a Phillies uniform through at least 2018. They were all happy about this then. Now, Hamels is having a mediocre year with his worst ERA since 2009. His 4-13 W/L record is almost completely attributable to low run support: of 125 qualified starters in the major leagues this year, Hamels ranks 117th in run support. (Travis Wood isn't much higher, at 109.) He threw eight shutout innings in his last outing, but the Phillies lost anyway. I'll take that. Nate Schierholtz (pictured above) is the only current Cub who has more than a handful of at-bats vs. Hamels (5-for-10, two doubles).
Today's game is on WCIU. WCIU games can also be seen on the following channels: Springfield/Decatur/Champaign WCIX 49.2; Peoria WAOE 59.1; Des Moines WHO 13.2; Quad Cities (Davenport/Moline) WQAD 8.2 or 8.3; Ft. Wayne WANE 15.2 and South Bend WMYS 69.
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.