April Cubs records, last 11 seasons (including March games if there were any):
Which proves exactly nothing. The Cubs have had great Aprils and made the postseason (2008, 2016). They've had a bad April and made the postseason (2007). They've had an April not too far off this year's and wound up losing 91 games (2011). They've had a losing April and wound up with a winning season (2009).
If you want a "feel" for this year, it "feels" a bit like 2015... a year that's starting slowly as the Cubs try to establish who they are. The 2015 Cubs won 97 games. This team is talented enough to do that. They'll be fine.
Here are today’s particulars.
Schwarber LF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist 2B, Heyward RF, Contreras C, Baez SS, Anderson P, Jay CF
Hernandez 2B, Altherr LF, Herrera CF, Franco 3B, Saunders RF, Joseph 1B, Galvis SS, Rupp C, Velasquez P
Brett Anderson vs. Vince Velasquez
Brett Anderson last faced the Phillies in 2015 when he was with the Dodgers. In two starts against them that year he allowed four earned runs in 11 innings, striking out 10. Current Phillies are a small-sample-size 15-for-60 (.250) against him.
He's had mixed success this year so far. Another small sample size alert! He's been much worse at Wrigley Field (6.23 ERA, two starts) than on the road (1.54 ERA, two starts). It's still quite early and there's still plenty of time for this to turn around. Worrisome: 11 walks in 20⅓ innings so far this year.
When the Phillies came to Wrigley last May, Vince Velasquez was having a very good year, with a 2.75 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 52⅓ innings. The Cubs took care of that by pounding him for seven runs in 4⅔ innings, including home runs by Miguel Montero and Ben Zobrist.
This year Velasquez is off to a poor start -- 6.33 ERA and five home runs allowed in 21⅓ innings, though his last two starts have qualified as "quality starts," for whatever that's worth (six innings, three runs in both). The game at Wrigley last year is Velasquez's only career start against the Cubs. Hopefully this one winds up like that one.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago Plus.
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The 2017 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2016. 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.
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Discuss amongst yourselves.