The Cubs have had one winning streak this year longer than the current six-game run.
That was from May 2-10, an eight-game winning streak that was part of a 16-3 run. It ended with a loss to the Padres, which also ended their 25-6 season-opening run.
The Cubs enter Sunday's action 27 games over .500, matching their season high set June 19. At that time they were 47-20 and 12½ games in first place, so in going 21-21 since then they have lost just two games off their division lead.
The high-water mark last year was 32 games over .500. They ended 2015 there, with an eight-game season-concluding winning streak.
The last time any Cubs team was more than 32 games over .500 was in 2008; that team was 35 over, 85-50, in late August. (The 1969 and 1984 teams peaked at 32 games over .500.)
And the last time any Cubs team was more than 35 games over .500 was in 1945, when they finished that year 98-56, a season-high 42 games over .500.
You know, just in case you might need to know those facts over the next few weeks.
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist RF, Russell SS, Soler DH, Contreras C, Baez 2B, Szczur LF
.@kylehendricks28 faces the A's in today's series finale.— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 7, 2016
Game preview: https://t.co/BkFNiyP95m #LetsGo pic.twitter.com/uLTcyl1dRJ
Crisp LF, Muncy 2B, Vogt C, Davis DH, Valencia RF, Alonso 1B, Semien SS, Smolinski CF, Healy 3B
Over his last nine appearances (eight starts), Kyle Hendricks has been nearly as good as 2015-vintage Jake Arrieta.
Don't believe me? Here are the numbers: 1.04 ERA, 1.135 WHIP, no earned runs in five of the eight starts, 47 strikeouts in 52 innings.
OK, remember I said "nearly." No one has been as good as 2015-vintage Jake, but Kyle has been excellent for nearly two months. He has never faced the A's and the only member of their active roster who has more than three career AB against him is former Brewer Khris Davis (5-for-14).
Kyle's numbers are marginally better in day games, too, so there's that.
Sean Manaea, a Chicago-area native (went to high school in Merrillville, Indiana), came to the A's from the Royals in the Ben Zobrist deal last year. His overall numbers aren't good, though he has been better since June 1, and has sprinkled in a couple of scoreless starts (vs. the Astros and Rays) with some bad ones (vs. the Twins and Angels) since the beginning of July.
He has never faced the Cubs or anyone on the current Cubs roster. His name, incidentally, is pronounced "muh-NYE-uh."
Today's game is on WGN. 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.