The Cubs have made a sudden turnaround for the worse in their four-game losing streak.
In the team's first 67 games: 5.4 runs per game, 2.66 ERA In the team's last four games: 2.3 runs per game, 4.37 ERA
Not going to win many games hitting and pitching like they did in those four. However, this club is still talented both at the plate (373 runs, second in the N.L. by one to the Cardinals) and on the mound (211 runs allowed, fewest in the N.L. by 30 -- Mets are next at 241).
So it'll turn around. Now would be a good time to start, though.
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Here are today's particulars.
Heyward RF, Bryant 1B, Zobrist 2B, Contreras C, Coghlan LF, Baez 3B, Russell SS, Hendricks P, Almora CF
Well, that's different. Couldn't hurt to shake things up a bit. It's the first time this year the Cubs' starting pitcher has batted eighth, after Joe Maddon did that 150 times last year.
Jason Heyward is a career .278/.353/.425 hitter batting leadoff (126 starts). He did it just once last year (0-for-4). The last time he hit leadoff on a semi-regular basis was 2014, when he hit .270/.343/.393 out of the No. 1 spot with the Braves (94 starts).
So maybe this could work while Dexter Fowler is out. Also, Anthony Rizzo misses another game.
Dietrich 2B, Prado 3B, Yelich LF, Ozuna CF, Stanton RF, Bour 1B, Realmuto C, Hechavarria SS, Koehler P
Kyle Hendricks has been pretty consistent all year and his last start, in which he struck out 12 Pirates (a career high), was excellent. He faced the Marlins twice last year and allowed four total runs in 12 innings, with 15 strikeouts. Current Marlins are a small-sample-size 11-for-49 (.224) against Kyle with no home runs. If he can keep locating in the strike zone the way he did against Pittsburgh, good things should follow.
Tom Koehler had a rough start to this year but since May 7 he has a 2.59 ERA and 1.311 WHIP in nine starts covering 55⅔ innings, with only one home run allowed. Walks have been his problem this year. He's walked at least five in five of his 14 starts, and in his last outing issued six bases on balls. Perhaps the patient Cubs can wait him out. He did throw a good game against the Cubs July 3, 2015 at Wrigley Field, where he allowed just five hits and a run in six innings.
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.