PITTSBURGH — Surprise! I’m in Pittsburgh for tonight’s game. Why? I’m headed east for a college reunion this weekend, and this was a convenient place to stop overnight. Headed to PNC Park soon. Weather permitting, that is. You’ll need to keep this handy tonight:
- The Cubs have gone two straight games without issuing a walk for the first time since April 27-28, 2015, also against the Pirates. All told, Cubs hurlers have gone 19 innings without issuing a base on balls since Carl Edwards Jr. did so in the top of the eighth Sunday night against the Giants. The last time any Cubs team went three straight games without walking a batter was Sept. 23-25, 1984, against the Cardinals and Pirates.
- The Cubs have averaged exactly six runs per game in their last 22 contests since May 5, batting .284 (225-for-793) with 45 doubles, eight triples, 32 homers, 129 RBI, 109 walks, a .373 OBP and a .482 SLG.
- Anthony Rizzo enters tonight with an 11-game hitting streak, and this month is batting .308 (28-for-91) with six doubles, seven homers, a .414 OBP and a 1.019 OPS after hitting .149 (11-for-74) with a .259 OBP in his first 18 games this season.
- The Cubs lead the majors with a .356 OBP in May while their .819 OPS leads the N.L. and is second in the majors behind the Indians (.835).
Here are today’s particulars.
Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. Joe Musgrove, RHP
Kyle Hendricks seems to have gotten into a groove lately and is on target to have another solid season. He started against the Pirates April 12 at Wrigley Field and threw six innings and allowed two earned runs, which sounds great until you realize the bullpen blew that game.
Anyway: The Pirate who hits him best is Gregory Polanco (10-for-25, .400, two home runs), which sounds great until you realize that since Polanco homered off Hendricks in that April 12 game, he’s hitting .187/.295/.321 (25-for-134). Hopefully that continues tonight.
Kyle has allowed three or fewer earned runs in each of his last eight starts dating to April 12, going 4-3 with a 2.96 ERA (17 ER/51⅔ IP) and a 0.91 WHIP, the second-best WHIP among N.L. pitchers in that span (Patrick Corbin of the Diamondbacks, 0.88).
Joe Musgrove came to the Pirates in the Gerrit Cole trade, and missed a big chunk of spring training with shoulder issues. He made four Triple-A starts before returning to the big leagues May 25 against the Cardinals, where he threw seven shutout innings.
Musgrove’s only career start against the Cubs was September 9, 2016 in Houston. He threw six innings and allowed two runs, both of which scored on a home run by Kris Bryant.
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.