Notes as we enter a new month:
- Despite Friday's loss, the Cubs had a winning June at 15-13. That gives them two winning calendar months this year (April, 13-11).
- The Cubs are 27-13 when Cubs starting pitchers go at least six innings, including a 10-3 record the last 13 times it happened. The starters have a 2.99 ERA (84 earned runs in 253 innings) in those starts. This shows how important having a solid rotation is.
- Even though the 40-40 record is mediocre, in 2015 the Cubs were 44-36 after 80 games, just four games better than now, en route to a 97-win season.
The latter could still happen, once everyone's healthy.
Also, you will need to keep this handy today:
Here are today’s particulars.
Jay LF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Contreras C, Happ RF, Russell SS, Baez 2B, Almora CF, Butler P
Hamilton CF, Gennett 2B, Votto 1B, Duvall LF, Suarez 3B, Schebler RF, Peraza SS, Barnhart C, Stephens P
Eddie Butler vs. Jackson Stephens
Eddie Butler in June: five starts, 25⅓ innings, 3.20 ERA, 1.184 WHIP, .237 opponents BA.
That's... not bad, actually. I'd have liked to see more innings from him, but he appears to be getting more consistent. He threw five shutout innings against a good Nationals lineup in his last start. That's... not bad, actually.
The last time he faced the Reds was June 2, 2016 and trust me, you do not want to click on that link. That game was in Colorado; the only start he's made at GABP was May 25, 2015, and he threw six innings, allowing four runs. Most of the Reds in that lineup aren't with the team anymore, so that's likely irrelevant.
Hopefully he can keep building on his June success in July.
Jackson Stephens was the Reds' 18th-round pick in the 2012 draft. Thus this is his sixth year in their system, and they have been largely undistinguished seasons. He's never appeared on a list of top 10 Reds prospects and wasn't even on top 30 prospect list before the 2017 season.
This year at Triple-A Louisville he has posted a 4.97 ERA and 1.566 WHIP in 15 appearances (14 starts).
That screams out "guy who will be allowed to leave at the end of the year as a six-year minor-league free agent" to me.
But here we are. He's making his major-league debut today, the fifth different starter who's made his MLB debut with the Reds this year. He's obviously never faced the Cubs or anyone on the current roster, even in the minor leagues. Hope they've got a good scouting report on him.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago.
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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.