A couple of random notes before Friday's afternoon game:
The Cubs won Thursday night, the first game of September. Random fact: in months this year in which the Cubs won the first game of the month (April, June and August), they combined for a 55-23 record (.705). Win at that pace from September 1 through season's end (including two October regular-season games) and that'd be 21 more wins.
I don't necessarily expect that. But then, this team's done those kinds of things all year.
With five walks Thursday night, the Cubs are at 542 walks for the season, 4.07 per game, a pace for 660, which, again, would be enough to break the team record (650, set in 1975). Only five teams in Cubs history have walked 600 or more times; they last did it in 2008 (636). Only 46 teams in National League history (since 1913, as far as baseball-reference's database goes back) have walked 660 or more times; the last N.L. team to do that was the 2009 Rockies.
Good times. Keep it going.
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist 2B, Coghlan LF, Heyward RF, Baez SS, Ross C, Lester P
The Giants lineup was not available at the time I wrote this preview.
You really don't want to look at the boxscore from Jon Lester's start against the Giants May 21 in San Francisco. Don't say I didn't warn you. Instead, let's focus on Lester's excellent numbers since the All-Star break: eight starts, 2.01 ERA, 1.027 WHIP, 52 strikeouts in 49⅔ innings. That's the kind of work we'd like to see this afternoon.
Albert Suarez has bounced around three big-league organizations (Rays, Angels and Giants) since 2006. He has made 17 appearances (seven starts) for the Giants this year, his first in the big leagues. Recalled last week after a month in the minors, he started August 27 against the Braves, with middling results (4⅓ innings, five hits, three runs, two walks, five strikeouts). He's mostly a fastball-slider guy, with his fastball topping out around 92. He threw three hitless innings of relief against the Cubs May 20 in San Francisco, the only game the Cubs won in that series. The only baserunner off him was Dexter Fowler, who was hit by a pitch. Here's hoping for better results today.
Today's game is on WGN. For affiliate information in the Illinois/Indiana/Iowa Cubs TV market click here.
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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.