True fact that you might not believe: The last time the Cubs swept the Cardinals at Wrigley Field was 11 years ago.
In fact, they did it twice that year: a three-game sweep April 7-9, and a four-game sweep July 27-30. This in a year when the Cubs lost 96 games and the Cardinals won the World Series. Go figure, right?
The last time the Cubs swept the Cardinals at all was September 13-15, 2010, in St. Louis.
It would be nice to add "2017" to the list of Cubs sweeps of the Cardinals.
Here are today’s particulars.
Happ CF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist 2B, Heyward RF, Montero C, Russell SS, Hendricks P, Schwarber LF
Fowler CF, Carpenter 1B, Piscotty RF, Gyorko 3B, Molina C, Pham LF, DeJong 2B, Diaz SS, Wacha P
Kyle Hendricks vs. Michael Wacha
Kyle Hendricks had a rough start to 2017, but pitched much better in May (3.34 ERA, 1.112 WHIP) than April (4.18 ERA, 1.214 WHIP). He has not faced the Cardinals yet this year. The last time he faced them, September 12, 2016 in St. Louis, he threw eight no-hit innings before Jeremy Hazelbaker broke it up with a home run.
Hendricks might not be quite as good as he was a year ago, but there are signs he's returning to consistency. He's had at least 10 ground-ball outs in each of his last three starts and hasn't walked a batter in his last 16 innings.
Michael Wacha has not made it past the fourth inning in either of his last two starts. He hasn't faced the Cubs this year and his last outing against them was a rough relief inning September 14, 2016 in St. Louis. Anthony Rizzo homered off him that day. Wacha has been one of Rizzo's favorite pitchers to face: 13-for-28 (.464) in his career with three homers. Kris Bryant is 6-for-16 lifetime vs. Wacha (.375) with a double, two triples and a homer.
So if it feels like the Cubs have hit Wacha pretty well over the course of his career, they have: a 5.90 ERA in 12 appearances (10 starts) covering 58 innings. Hope that continues tonight.
Today's game is on ESPN. Former Cub David Ross joins the ESPN crew for this one. They'll be broadcasting from the right-field bleachers.
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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.