Anthony Rizzo homered, singled and walked in five plate appearances in the leadoff spot Tuesday night.
So the Cubs are going to lead off with him again tonight. Here are some fun facts about Rizzo's year so far:
He has now reached base safely in 21 of his last 36 plate appearances and has posted a .445 OBP over 33 games since May 7, best in the National League over that span.
He has struck out only five times in his last 98 plate appearances (covering 23 games since May 21). In that span he's walked 17 times and has a .459 OBP and 1.135 OPS.
Overall this season, Rizzo ranks 10th in the National League with a .394 on-base percentage, which is 141 points above his batting average.
You know Rizzo is a streak hitter. When he gets hot he can carry a team for quite some time. Here's hoping now is one of those hot streaks.
Also, this is not good news.
#Cubs Hendricks went for MRI on his right hand— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) June 14, 2017
Here are today’s particulars.
Rizzo 1B, Happ 2B, Bryant 3B, Montero C, Jay RF, Schwarber LF, Baez SS, Montgomery P, Almora CF
Jason Heyward gets today off.
Lagares CF, Walker 2B, Flores 3B, Bruce RF, Rivera 1B, d'Arnaud C, Granderson LF, Reyes SS, Harvey P
Mike Montgomery vs. Matt Harvey
Mike Montgomery has been placed in the starting rotation due to the injury to Kyle Hendricks. In his first start of the year last Friday, he had to leave after four innings and 73 pitches, in part due to three walks issued. That's been his biggest problem since he came to the Cubs. He's walked 23 this year in 40⅔ innings. That's 5.1 walks per nine innings, the worst ratio of his career -- and it's the second-most on the Cubs staff.
That is going to have to improve if he's going to succeed. He has obvious talent, but has to harness his command and control.
Montgomery has never faced the Mets. The only Mets player who has more than two PA against him is backup catcher Rene Rivera (0-for-3). Perhaps that will be to Montgomery's advantage.
Matt Harvey started out the 2017 season well, but then had a seven-start stretch where he was awful (7.25 ERA, 1.861 WHIP, eight home runs in 36 innings). His last start was pretty good: five shutout innings against the Braves.
Like Montgomery, Harvey has had issues with walks -- 34 in 66⅓ innings, 4.6 per nine. He's also served up 13 home runs already this year, and the Cubs have of late been hitting a lot of those. So maybe this is a good time for them to face him.
Current Cubs are hitting .323 against Harvey in a small sample size (10-for-31) with one home run (Jason Heyward).
Today's game is on CSN Chicago. It’s also on MLB Network outside the Chicago and New York markets.
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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.