Here's the Cubs' problem over the current three-game losing streak in the proverbial nutshell.
Cubs pitchers have issued 16 walks over those three games. Seven of those batters who walked eventually scored. You just can't keep doing that and win games. The Cubs had been pretty good with this for the first 12 games of August -- 24 total walks over those 12 games, just two per game. But the walkathon that's happened over the last three has made the Cubs staff edge up toward the top of the worst-walking staffs in the National League. They've now walked 394 hitters, fourth-most in the league, just three behind the Phillies and seven fewer than the Mets. The Rockies lead the league with 411.
Control is important, obviously. This pitching staff has some work to do in that regard.
Here are today's particulars.
Coghlan LF, Baez 2B, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Valbuena 3B, Alcantara CF, Sweeney RF, Baker C, Arrieta P
Granderson RF, Lagares CF, Murphy 2B, Duda 1B, Campbell 3B, den Dekker LF, Recker C, Tejada SS, Montero P
Today's Starting Pitchers
After a rough patch through July and early August, Jake Arrieta returned to his earlier form in his last start (7⅓ innings, five hits, two runs). He faced the Mets June 3 at Wrigley Field. It was not his finest hour -- he didn't make it out of the fifth inning and gave up seven hits and three walks. It was after that start that he seemed to "figure it out" and went on his great run through June. Hopefully, the last outing is the beginning of another such run.
The Cubs were rumored to be interested in acquiring Rafael Montero from the Mets earlier this year. He made four starts for the Mets in May, was returned to Triple-A, and has recently been recalled again. Five days ago he allowed seven hits and five runs in five innings to the Nationals, including three home runs. That'd work for me. He has never faced the Cubs nor anyone on the active Cubs roster.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago.
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.