For those of you on the ledge because the Cubs are 16-15 and 3½ games out of first place, let me remind you of the following:
- After 31 games in 2017, the Cubs were... 16-15 and a game out of first place. They won 92 games and a division title. The Reds (!) were in first place. They finished last, 24 games out.
- After 31 games in 2017, the Red Sox were 17-14 and four games out of first place. They won 93 games and a division title. The Yankees, who were in first place, won one of the wild-card spots, but finished two games behind.
- After 31 games in 2017, the Indians were 17-14. They were in first place, but only by one game. They won 102 games and a division title. The Twins, who were one game behind, finished 17 games out.
- After 31 games in 2017, the Dodgers were 17-14 and two games out of first place. They won 104 games and the N.L. pennant. The Rockies were in first place. They finished third, 17 games out.
I mean... I could keep going through lists of teams like this, going back several years, but you get the idea. Good teams go through rough starts ... All. The. Time. It happens almost every year, and also almost every year someone gets off to a good start, then fades. (The Reds went 51-80 after their 17-14 start.)
Look at this year’s Dodgers: 15-19, eight games out of first place. (OK, so the Dodgers do have injury issues that might ruin their season.) The Nationals, forecast before the season to run away with the N.L. East, are 18-17 and in fourth place. They’re two games behind the first-place Braves, and no, you did not think the phrase “first-place Braves” was going to be written this year.
Point is, even though about one-fifth of the season is gone, that still leaves 80 percent. And the Cubs have done pretty well with that 80 percent over the last three years.
They’ll be fine. Hopefully, starting tonight.
Here are today’s particulars.
Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. Jarlin Garcia, LHP
Kyle Hendricks threw six strong innings against the Marlins March 30 in Miami, allowing four hits, three walks and a run. He then struggled a bit, but his last two starts have been very good: 14⅔ innings, eight hits, two walks, three earned runs, 10 strikeouts.
Current Marlins are hitting .212 (14-for-66) against Kyle with one home run (Justin Bour).
Also, small sample size but Kyle’s throwing much better at home (2.18 ERA in three starts) than on the road this year (4.50 ERA, three starts). That’s backed up by his lifetime numbers, where his ERA is a full run lower at Wrigley (2.46, 53 appearances, 52 starts) than on the road (3.47, 53 starts).
Jarlin Garcia also appeared in that 17-inning March 30 game, throwing six innings of shutout relief and allowing only one hit. After 68 middling relief appearances last year, Garcia has been a revelation this year: 1.09 ERA, 0.848 WHIP in six outings (four starts). This includes six no-hit innings against the Mets April 11, and he was lifted from that game after only 77 pitches. (The Marlins eventually lost.)
In addition to that six-inning stint March 30, Garcia made two relief appearances vs. the Cubs last year covering 1x innings, and he didn’t allow a run in either of those.
Doesn’t sound too good for the Cubs’ chances to break out of the offensive funk they’re in. But you never know.
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.