As I noted in the recap to yesterday's win, it has been just about exactly one year since the Cubs won back-to-back road series. They won two of three from the Brewers in Milwaukee, then took two of three from the Mariners in Seattle from June 25-30, 2013.
Since that date, the Cubs' road record has been 31-49, although they have now won three of their last four on the road and are 4-4 on the current trip. Perhaps they are starting to learn how to win away from home!
Also, the Cubs improved their record in one-run games to 7-11 with Monday night's win, far better than the record in those games over the last couple of years. The improved bullpen is the biggest reason for that. The Cubs have also played nine extra-inning games so far this year, a large number, and are just 3-6. However, they have won their last two extra-inning affairs, both in 13 innings, both over the Marlins.
I'm sure both teams are glad that, if they had to have a long extra-inning game, that it was Monday instead of Tuesday, because the teams will finish this series with a day game tomorrow.
One more odd thing. The Cubs' record with their two catchers who can't hit is 15-12 (with Welington Castillo, 14-27). Eli Whiteside and John Baker, combined, are hitting .140/.191/.160 in 110 plate appearances. No, I can't figure it out either.
Valbuena 3B, Ruggiano LF, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Schierholtz RF, Lake CF, Barney 2B, Whiteside C, Samardzija P
Furcal 2B, Hechavarria SS, Stanton RF, McGehee 3B, Jones 1B, Ozuna LF, Marisnick CF, Realmuto C, DeSclafani P
Today's Starting Pitchers
After being lights-out awesome in April and May, Jeff Samardzija's three starts in June have produced a 7.88 ERA and 1.688 WHIP. He's still had decent command -- five walks in 16 innings -- but allowed two home runs and 14 earned runs this month. The good news, potentially, is that the one good start he had out of the three was against the Marlins, June 7 at Wrigley Field, where he allowed just two runs in seven innings, with eight strikeouts, including two of Giancarlo Stanton. More of that, please.
Anthony DeSclafani, who came to the Marlins in the huge trade they made with the Blue Jays a couple of offseasons ago, is making his third major-league start. The first start was decent, the other one wasn't. He has never faced the Cubs or anyone on their roster, obviously. Interestingly, another player swapped from Miami to Toronto in that deal was Emilio Bonifacio.
Today's game is on WGN.
For 2014, we are going to have the same game-thread routine as 2013. Here's how it works.
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.