The Cubs have swept six series of at least three games this season; three of those sweeps were of four-game sets. The victims range from playoff contenders (Mets, Giants) to teams that are struggling (Brewers, Braves).
This would be a very good time for a seventh sweep. The last Cubs team to sweep seven series of at least three games in one season is, as you might have guessed, the 97-win 2008 club.
Updates on Saturday's action from the Cubs' wild-card competitors, ICYMI:
- The Pirates lost to the Cardinals, so the Cubs trail them by three games for the top wild-card spot.
- The Nationals beat the Braves, so the Cubs lead them by 7½ games and the Cubs' elimination number for Washington is 21.
- The Giants beat the Rockies, so the Cubs lead them by eight games and the Cubs' elimination number for San Francisco is 20.
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Jackson RF, Coghlan LF, Rizzo 1B, Bryant 3B, Montero C, Baez 2B, Hendricks P, Russell SS
Inciarte RF, Pollock CF, Goldschmidt 1B, Peralta LF, Castillo C, Lamb 3B, Owings 2B, Ahmed SS, De La Rosa P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Kyle Hendricks really needs to get back on track. If the Cubs do get past the wild-card game they'll need him to be a solid starter or long reliever. He has struggled over his last five starts, posting a 6.57 ERA in 24⅔ innings and issuing 12 walks over that span. That's something that used to be Hendricks' strong point -- not walking hitters. If he can get back to that, he should be able to succeed. He has never faced the Diamondbacks or anyone on their roster. Maybe that'll help.
The Cubs scored four runs in six innings off Rubby De La Rosa on May 23 in Phoenix. De La Rosa has been consistently mediocre most of the second half. His ERA has not been above 4.83 or below 4.32 since the All-Star break -- every time he has a decent start or two, he follows it with a couple of bad ones. He seems on target for a bad one.
Today's game is on WGN. For coverage info in other Midwest markets click here (link opens .pdf).
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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.