Notes for the final Friday road game of the 2017 regular season:
- The comeback victory Thursday night was the Cubs’ 42nd of the season, second-most in the N.L. (Dodgers, 44) and tied for third-most in the majors with the Royals.
- Last night marked the Cubs’ fifth win in which they trailed entering the ninth inning. That’s tied for third-most in the N.L. with Pittsburgh, trailing only Los Angeles (eight wins) and Philadelphia (six wins). Five is a lot (the Phillies being on this list is pretty weird). Most teams win one or two games a year trailing entering the ninth. Last year the Cubs had eight such wins.
- Kris Bryant’s home run was his second career blast in extra innings. He also hit a similar two-run game-winning homer in the 10th inning, August 26, 2016 at Los Angeles. That’s the game when Cubs fans at Dodger Stadium started chanting, loudly, “MVP! MVP!”
- The Cubs are 39-27 vs. the N.L. Central (.591), by far the best intra-divisional record of any N.L. Central team (the Brewers are second at 35-32).
Here are today’s particulars.
Jay CF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist 2B, Avila C, Schwarber LF, Heyward RF, Baez SS, Lackey P
Sogard SS, Walker 2B, Braun LF, Shaw 3B, Santana RF, Thames 1B, Vogt C, Phillips CF, Woodruff P
John Lackey vs. Brandon Woodruff
John Lackey was throwing a pretty nice game one week ago when it was, um, interrupted by plate umpire Jordan Baker.
Well. Anyway, this month Lackey has (even in spite of being thrown out of last Friday’s game before he finished the fifth inning) pretty good numbers in three starts: 18⅔ innings, 1.93 ERA, 0.750 WHIP, 18 strikeouts.
Against the Brewers this year in three starts: 3.79 ERA, 1.105 WHIP, 18 strikeouts in 19 innings. His last start against them, September 8 at Wrigley Field, was outstanding: seven innings, four hits, two runs, nine strikeouts. Ryan Braun has homered off him twice this year, but both of those were at Wrigley.
Brandon Woodruff is making his seventh major-league start tonight. Five of the other six have been very good, in the other one he got hit hard by the Pirates (six runs in five innings).
He’s mostly a four-seam fastball guy (62 percent of his pitches) who can touch 95. He has obviously never faced the Cubs or anyone on the current roster. This will be an interesting test for the Cubs; hope they have a good scouting report on Woodruff.
Fun fact on this matchup: Lackey has a 438-start and 2,793⅔-inning edge on Woodruff, as tonight marks career start number 444 for Lackey and career start number seven for Woodruff. Lackey has thrown 2,829⅓ big-league innings, Woodruff is at 35⅔.
MLB.com Gameday (classic mode) (Note: Going forward, I am going to link to the “classic” Gameday here because MLB.com broke the links I used to use to get to their “new” Gameday. If you click on this link, you can then click on “New Gameday” at the bottom of the page to get to the updated version. Note that the “classic” Gameday won’t load until just before game time.)
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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.