At 23 games over .500, the Cubs have matched where they were on July 1 -- thus, 13-13 since then. It seems like it's been a bit of a struggle, but no one in the division has really done all that well since that date. The Cardinals are 15-11, the Reds and Pirates 13-10, and the Brewers 12-13 since July 1.
So, the Cubs have treaded water, losing only two games of their division lead.
Time to start stretching that out again!
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Contreras C, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist 2B, Heyward RF, Russell SS, Coghlan LF, Baez 3B, Hammel P
Realmuto C, Prado 3B, Yelich LF, Stanton RF, Ozuna CF, Dietrich 2B, Johnson 1B, Hechavarria SS, Fernandez P
This is a pitching rematch of the game June 26 in Miami.
Jason Hammel and pitched well enough in that game: two runs in six innings, with just four hits allowed, but it wasn't enough to win. Hammel's last four starts have been very good: 2.35 ERA, 0.913 WHIP, 24 strikeouts in 23 innings.
Jose Fernandez carved up the Cubs in that June 26 game, striking out 13 in seven innings and allowing just four singles. The Cubs' only hope might be that Fernandez has significantly worse numbers away from Miami (3.86 ERA, 1.184 WHIP) than at home (2.11 ERA, 0.965 WHIP). He's also allowed six homers in 49 innings away from Miami, compared to four homers in 76⅔ innings on the road. This is a career pattern: 1.62 career ERA in 38 starts in Miami, 3.80 ERA in 29 starts away from there.
So perhaps this isn't as big a mismatch as you might think.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago Plus.
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.