Wednesday afternoon notes:
- Thanks to their five postponements, the Cubs’ 20 games played are fewest in the National League and tied for the second-fewest in the majors with the White Sox and Tigers. The Twins have played just 18 games thus far, and the Rockies and Astros the most with 25.
- The Schwarbino: Kyle Schwarber recorded his sixth career multi-homer game Tuesday night. He is hitting .412 (14-for-34) with a double, four homers, 13 RBI and has a .512 OBP, a .794 slugging percentage (good for a 1.306 OPS) in his last 10 games since April 10.
- More Schwarbs: Schwarber’s two homers last night give him seven as a Cubs designated hitter, a franchise record that surpassed Alfonso Soriano’s six homers as a Cubs DH.
- Even more Kyle: In seven career games at Progressive Field (including the four 2016 World Series contests), Schwarber is batting .500 (15-for-30) with a double, triple, three homers, eight RBI, nine runs scored and three walks, and has hit safely in all seven games he’s played in Cleveland.
- Javier Baez drove in his 24th run of the season Tuesday, becoming just the sixth Cub since 1908 with at least 24 RBI in the team’s first 20 games. Others: Hack Wilson (26 RBI in 1926), Frank Demaree (26 in 1937), Billy Williams (26 in 1970), Ernie Banks (24 in 1959 & 25 in 1966) and Hank Sauer (24 in 1954). (H/T Ed Hartig)
Here are today’s particulars.
We're looking to split the series tonight as Trevor Bauer takes the mound.— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) April 25, 2018
Michael Brantley is back in the lineup tonight. He is batting .400 with RISP this season.#RallyTogether pic.twitter.com/sza4MH5Wi4
Jon Lester, LHP vs. Trevor Bauer, RHP
That’s a curiosity, nothing more. It does mark the last time these two pitchers faced the team they’re facing tonight. Jon Lester threw six strong innings, allowing four hits and two runs, and Trevor Bauer got hit pretty hard by the Cubs, including a home run by Kris Bryant, and lasted just four innings.
That out of the way, Lester has four starts this year, two good ones, two not-so-good. His last outing, April 19 against the Cardinals, was excellent. He does look like he’s rounding into form and I’m hopeful this start will continue that progress.
His last regular-season start against Cleveland was August 24, 2015 at Wrigley Field. He nearly threw a complete-game shutout that day until Carlos Santana (who’s no longer with the Indians) singled in a run with two out in the ninth. Bryant eventually won that game with a walkoff homer.
Trevor Bauer has also made four starts this year, and has gone at least seven innings in three of them, notable because not a single Cubs starting pitcher has gone seven innings this year — not once. The only Cub to throw seven innings in a game in 2018 is Eddie Butler, who did it in relief in the 17-inning game March 30.
Anyway, Bauer’s four starts have been good-to-excellent and he has 27 strikeouts in 27 innings. His only regular-season start against the Cubs came on June 16, 2015 and he threw seven shutout innings that day.
So, given the chilly weather forecast and these two pitchers, I’d expect a low-scoring affair tonight.
Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago.
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The 2018 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2017. 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.
Discuss amongst yourselves.