The Cubs' current 11-game winning streak is the longest by any National League team in 2016 (the Indians have the majors' longest at 14).
It's also the Cubs' longest winning streak since they won 12 straight in 2001. That streak was from May 19-June 2, 2001, and put that Cubs team in first place, where they stayed until August 17. That was a pretty good team, but they ran out of gas late in the season. Since 1913 (as far back as baseball-reference.com's database goes), the Cubs have had just six winning streaks of 12 games or more.
This team, pretty obviously, is better than the 2001 squad. With the Pirates' win over the Dodgers late Friday night, the Pirates are only half a game behind the Cardinals.
Wouldn't it be great to knock the Cardinals all the way into third place this weekend?
And, no rain is in the forecast; it should be cooler and less humid Saturday, with the wind blowing in from left field (northwest winds predicted).
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist LF, Russell SS, Heyward RF, Contreras C, Baez 2B, Hendricks P
Garcia SS, Piscotty RF, Carpenter 1B, Moss LF, Molina C, Peralta 3B, Gyorko 2B, Grichuk CF, Weaver P
In Kyle Hendricks' previous start against the Cardinals this year, April 20 in St. Louis, he gave up a two-run homer to Matt Holliday.
Well. That won't be a problem in this game. Kyle has been awesome over his last 10 appearances (nine starts), posting a 1.06 ERA and 1.045 WHIP in 59.1 innings. He seems to have mastered the art of inducing weak contact and ground balls by mixing up his pitches and locating precisely.
Here's to more of that today.
Luke Weaver is making his major-league debut. He was the Cardinals' first-round pick in 2014 (27th overall). He has made only one start above Double-A, when he was promoted to Triple-A last week. He threw six shutout innings in his only Triple-A start after a very good year in Double-A (1.40 ERA, 0.948 WHIP in 12 starts covering 77 innings. He walked only 10 and struck out 88 in those 77 innings. But this is the big leagues. We'll see if his talent translates. No one on the current Cubs roster has ever faced him.
Today's game is on ABC7 Chicago. For affiliate information in the Illinois/Indiana/Iowa Cubs TV market click here.
Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Baseball-reference.com game preview
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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.