As rough a time as the Cubs have had at times this month, they will finish June with a winning record. Going into today's game, the final game of June, they are 15-12 this month. A win to make it 16-12? That's a pretty decent month of baseball.
Thursday's win in Washington was the fourth time this year the Cubs have won a game when they entered the ninth inning trailing. Last year they had only one such game before the All-Star break (largely because they were blowing out opponents), but wound up winning eight such games in 2016. That's a lot. Most teams, even good ones, win maybe one or two games all year when they trail entering the ninth inning.
The run they allowed in the first inning Thursday was the 67th run the Cubs have allowed in the first inning this year. That's a lot. Last year the Cubs allowed 71 first-inning runs for the entire season. Hopefully that improves over the season's second half.
Here are today’s particulars.
Jay RF, Happ 2B, Rizzo 1B, Contreras LF, Russell SS, Caratini C, Baez 3B, Almora CF, Montgomery P
Insert "other split squad" joke here.
Victor Caratini gets his first major-league start.
Hamilton CF, Cozart SS, Votto 1B, Duvall LF, Suarez 3B, Schebler RF, Peraza 2B, Barnhart C, Feldman P
Umpire John Tumpane, who saved a woman's life in Pittsburgh a couple of days ago, is on the crew for this series. The Chicago-area native will have second base tonight, first base tomorrow and be behind the plate on Sunday.
Mike Montgomery vs. Scott Feldman
Mike Montgomery's last two starts -- total of 12 innings, eight hits, three earned runs, four walks, 10 strikeouts -- give some hope that at last, maybe he's figured things out and can be a solid rotation starter. I'd still like fewer walks, but he seems headed in that direction. He had a rough start to his last outing, three runs in the first inning, but then settled down and threw five solid frames.
Our old buddy Scott Feldman started against the Cubs May 17 at Wrigley Field and they torched him pretty good -- seven runs (five earned) in 2⅔ innings. More of that, please.
Feldman's thrown pretty well for the Reds overall this year, probably well enough to get him traded to a contending team before next month ends. Over his last four starts he has a 2.88 ERA and 1.222 WHIP.
Today's game is on WGN.
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