The Phillies defeated the Brewers 6-3 this afternoon, taking two of three. So thank you, Phillies, for that, and now the Cubs can move into a virtual first-place tie in the N.L. Central with a win over the Cardinals.
And now, more on the newest Cubs pitcher.
Jose Quintana, as you might imagine, is not a very good hitter, having spent all of his five-plus year career in the American League. He’s 0-for-27 with 16 strikeouts and one walk. He does have one RBI, on a sacrifice fly earlier this year against the Rockies.
Quintana says he’s up to the challenge of becoming a better hitter:
"I want a hit," Quintana said with a smile before the Cubs rallied to defeat the Cardinals 3-2 Saturday. "I know I'm not a good hitter but I try to do my best. In this league it's really important with sacrifice bunts and trying to make contact."
When Jon Lester came to the Cubs from the A.L. he was even worse than that. 0-for-36 when he began his Cubs career, he went 0-for-30. The 0-for-66 to begin a big-league career set a record. Then he got his first hit off his good friend John Lackey in this game.
From that hit to today, Lester is hitting .109/.161/.118 (14-for-129). OK, that’s still not very good. But he has hit five doubles and has improved his bunting. You certainly remember this 2016 Lester bunt:
Lester also has five doubles and a stolen base, and he hit a home run in spring training 2016.
Perhaps Quintana can take some lessons on improving his hitting from Jon.
Here are today’s particulars.
Heyward RF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Contreras C, Schwarber LF, Happ CF, Russell SS, Baez 2B, Quintana P
Here is tonight's #Cubs lineup for the rubber game vs. St. Louis.— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 23, 2017
Game preview: https://t.co/WE4OAtZ9in pic.twitter.com/3iBW5FmMT6
The Cardinals lineup was not available at posting time. Please check the BCB Twitter feed for the Cardinals lineup.
Jose Quintana vs. Michael Wacha
Jose Quintana is coming off his dazzling debut for the Cubs last Sunday in Baltimore and is making his Cubs Wrigley debut tonight before a national TV audience. Jose’s last eight starts: 2.30 ERA, 1.085 WHIP, 57 strikeouts in 47 innings.
He has two career starts vs. the Cardinals. The last one was two years ago, July 1, 2015, and he threw six innings and allowed six hits and one run. Check out who his opponent was that day, too.
Michael Wacha had a rough go of things in June (5.55 ERA in five starts), but has been much better in July (0.87 ERA in three starts), and that includes a complete-game, three-hit shutout of the Mets in his last outing.
He has one start vs. the Cubs this year, June 4 at Wrigley Field, and the Cubs pounded him for six hits and four runs in 4⅓ innings. That Cubs attack included two home runs off Wacha by Ian Happ.
I’ll take another one of those, please.
Today's game is on ESPN.
Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Baseball-reference.com game preview
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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.