I mentioned this in the recap of Saturday's game, but it's worth noting again: The last time the Cubs swept the Phillies was July 28, 29 and 30, 1995, a three-game series at Wrigley Field.
That's 21 years ago. It's time to change that, wouldn't you say?
The Cubs are back to 19 games over .500 going into this game, matching the high point of this season, which means their little "slump" over the last two weeks is a record of 8-8. Which isn't all that bad. If the Cubs win today, they move to 20 games over and would have the best 48-game start in team history since 1907, when they were 38-10. The current team has matched the 1918 Cubs for a 47-game start at 33-14, but the 1918 Cubs lost game 48 to go to 33-15.
Here's to this year's team bettering that.
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Heyward RF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist 2B, Montero C, Russell SS, Szczur LF, Lackey P
Herrera CF, Galvis SS, Blanco 2B, Franco 3B, Joseph 1B, Rupp C, Goeddel LF, Velasquez P, Bourjos RF
John Lackey has had a very good May (2.25 ERA, 0.75 WHIP in five starts) after a somewhat-shaky April. The last time he faced the Phillies was June 20, 2015, when he allowed five hits and one run in seven innings. Current Phillies are 17-for-59 (.288) against Lackey with two home runs, both by Ryan Howard, though it should be pointed out that only one of those Howard HR off Lackey was hit after 2010. You know, when Howard was actually good.
Vince Velasquez came to the Phillies in the deal that sent Ken Giles to the Astros. So far this deal has been a big win for Philadelphia, as Velasquez threw a three-hit shutout with 16 strikeouts in his second start for them. His last four starts? Uh... not so much, as he's posted a 4.71 ERA and 1.81 WHIP in 21 innings, with four home runs allowed. The Tigers pounded him pretty hard in his last outing. He has never faced the Cubs or anyone on the current Cubs roster.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago.
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The 2016 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used at the end of 2015. Here's how it works.
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.