Notes for an early Monday evening start:
- Javier Baez needs three RBI tonight to set a Cubs team record for RBI prior to the end of April. Current mark: 28, set by Derrek Lee in 2005. Lee played in 23 games in April 2005 and had 102 PA. Baez has played in 25 games and has 104 PA going into tonight.
- The Cubs have a chance tonight to reach 16 wins prior to May 1 for just the fourth time in franchise history. The Cubs entered May with 17 wins in 2008 and 2016 and with 16 wins in 1969. In 2008 they played 27 games prior to May 1, in 2016 22 games and in 1969, 23 games. They’ll have 26 games played after tonight.
- If the Cubs shut out the Rockies tonight, they will have three consecutive shutouts for the first time since July 21-24, 1992 at Cincinnati (two games) and Houston (one).
- Brandon Morrow (10 IP) and Brian Duensing (8 IP) are the only qualifying National League relievers yet to allow a run this season. Morrow has not allowed a run in his last 18⅓ innings dating to last season, the second-longest active streak in the majors, trailing only Cleveland’s Andrew Miller (18⅔ IP).
- The Cubs are second in the N.L. and fifth in the majors by averaging 5.20 runs per game. The ballclub’s .336 on-base percentage is second the N.L. and seventh overall in MLB, and the team’s .416 slugging percentage is second in the N.L. (Braves, .440).
Here are today’s particulars.
Jon Lester, LHP vs. Kyle Freeland, LHP
After a bit of a rough start to 2018, Jon Lester has put together two consecutive really good starts, for a total of 13 innings with just three earned runs allowed.
His last start against the Rockies was June 8, 2017 at Wrigley Field: four runs in five innings. In his career against Colorado: four starts, 2.73 ERA, 0.987 WHIP, three home runs in 26⅓ innings. Current Rockies vs. Jon: .257 (19-for-74), four home runs.
With the wind blowing out tonight, obviously keeping the ball down is important.
Kyle Freeland was the Rockies’ No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft, eighth overall, four picks after Kyle Schwarber. He’s made 38 appearances (33 starts) over the last year-plus for Colorado with decent success, oddly, unlike a lot of Rockies pitchers, he’s been better at Coors Field (3.51 ERA, 21 games, 100 innings) than on the road (4.88 ERA, 17 games, 83 innings). We can hope that continues tonight.
Freeland’s only career start vs. the Cubs was in the second game of a doubleheader May 9, 2017 at Coors Field. He threw six innings and allowed five runs (three earned). As such, no current Cubs hitter has more than three at-bats against him.
Freeland threw seven shutout innings in his last start, April 24 vs. the Padres, but his prior four starts this year resulted in a 5.85 ERA and 1.550 WHIP and only one of those starts was in Coors Field.
Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago. It’s also on ESPN (outside the Chicago and Denver markets).
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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.