46 years ago today, Cubs lefthander Ken Holtzman threw a no-hitter against the Atlanta Braves. It is one of just two no-hitters in major-league history where there were no strikeouts. (If you're interested, this is the other one.)
Here's an odd little coincidence. Coming into that game, Holtzman had a season ERA of 3.28 and had just finished an outing in which he had gone six innings and allowed seven hits and two runs.
Going into tonight's game, Cubs lefthander Jon Lester has a season ERA of 3.21 and in his last outing... he went six innings and allowed seven hits and two runs.
I'm not predicting anything. But that is an eerie parallel.
Here's some further interesting info about that date. The Cubs' win on August 19, 1969, their 13th in their previous 17 games, moved them to 77-45, eight games ahead of the Mets, who were 67-51.
Beginning tonight's action, the Cubs are a nearly identical 67-50, and eight games behind the Cardinals, who are 76-43. Now, I'm certainly not expecting the Cardinals to collapse, nor the Cubs to match the Mets' 1969 season-ending 33-11 run, and there's also the Pirates involved in this race. Further, there are consolation prizes (the wild card slots) if you don't win your division, something that didn't exist in 1969.
But wouldn't you love to see a Cardinals collapse?
Reminder: both teams will be wearing 1945 throwback uniforms tonight, and the Cubs are undefeated wearing throwbacks this year. The Cubs are 14-8 all-time wearing throwbacks, as follows:
1992: 1-0 1997: 1-0 2008: 1-0 2011: 2-0 2012: 0-1 2013: 1-0 2014: 4-7 2015: 4-0
Thanks to Ed Hartig for helping me confirm the year-to-year records in throwbacks.
Here's some even better news: it's not going to rain tonight.
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Schwarber LF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Soler RF, Castro 2B, Ross C, Lester P, Russell SS
.@JLester34 is on the mound tonight as we battle the #Tigers. Game preview: http://t.co/LVoqnZMiAX #LetsGo pic.twitter.com/eIhB39uY2Y— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 19, 2015
Davis LF, Kinsler 2B, Cabrera 1B, J. Martinez RF, Castellanos 3B, McCann C, Iglesias SS, Gose CF, Norris P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Jon Lester was really awful in his start in Detroit in June. So we're going to ignore that game (and I won't even link it, you'll have to look it up yourself) and focus on his 2.20 ERA over his last 11 starts, where he has struck out 79 in 73⅔ innings and allowed just two home runs. More of that, please.
Daniel Norris was the centerpiece of the trade that sent David Price to the Blue Jays last month. He has made three starts for the Tigers. One was very good (vs. the Orioles), one was decent (against the Royals), one was awful (against the Red Sox). Yes, I realize that makes little sense. He threw one inning of relief against the Cubs September 9, 2014 in Toronto, allowing a single to Jorge Soler, which likely tells us almost nothing about what might happen tonight.
Today's game is on WPWR. For coverage info in other Midwest markets click here (link opens .pdf). In most of the USA this game will be available on ESPN (check your cable/satellite listings).
Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Baseball-reference.com game preview
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The 2015 Game Thread procedure has changed a bit. Here's how it will work going forward.
You'll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).
At the same time, a StoryStream™ containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.
You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap 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 the game's StoryStream™ as noted above.
The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.