The Cubs last won nine in a row from August 6-15, 2015, part of a stretch in which they won 21 of 25.
This year's Cubs haven't been quite that good -- not even in their 25-6 start -- but they are now 18-6 since July 10, a string getting close to the way they performed at the beginning of the season.
A win tonight would put the Cubs 30 games over .500 for the first time this year. They were last 30 or more over .500 at the end of the 2015 season when they finished 97-65 (and on an eight-game winning streak, the last such streak until now).
Keep it going!
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Bryant LF, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist 2B, Russell SS, Heyward RF, Contreras C, Baez 3B, Hammel P
Escobar 3B, Calhoun RF, Trout CF. Pujols 1B, Simmons SS, Choi LF, Soto C, Nolasco P, Petit 2B
Jason Hammel returns from the bereavement list, and tries to continue his good second half. He's got a 1.50 ERA in four starts (24 innings) since the All-Star break with 21 strikeouts. He hasn't faced the Angels since June 12, 2013, when he was with the Orioles. Check out who the losing pitcher was in that game. And the catcher. And another of the Orioles pitchers. Current Angels are hitting .219 (14-for-64) against Hammel with one home run (Mike Trout).
Ricky Nolasco -- and the at least $17 million left on his contract -- was acquired by the Angels from the Twins in a deadline deal that makes sense only because they also got Alex Meyer, one of the better Twins pitching prospects. Maybe it'll work out for the Angels. In the meantime, Nolasco is a downgrade in the rotation replacing Hector Santiago, who also went to Minnesota in the deal. Nolasco, who is 33, has been pretty bad all year and has allowed 21 home runs in 130.2 innings. The former Cubs draft pick (fifth round, 2001) hasn't faced the Cubs since 2013, but current Cubs are hitting .325 (26-for-80) with three home runs (Jason Heyward, Miguel Montero, Anthony Rizzo).
Today's game is on CSN Chicago Plus (check your cable/satellite listings for the channel).
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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.