After going through an 0-for-17 slump that included seven strikeouts, Kris Bryant has begun what might be the first signs of coming back to his previous level of performance. Over his last five games KB is hitting .286/.333/.619 (6-for-21) with two doubles, a triple and a home run. He’s still striking out more than he’d like (eight times in the five games), but in leading off both games of Tuesday’s doubleheader, he went 3-for-10 with all three hits being for extra bases (two doubles and a triple).
So no, he’s not hitting home runs — just one in his last 29 games — but he still seems to be getting some timely hits, including the triple that started Tuesday night’s winning rally. Joe Maddon has already rested him twice this month, and I would not be surprised to see that happen again when the Cubs visit Cincinnati this weekend. GABP used to be one of KB’s favorite parks to hit in, but this year in Cincinnati he is just 5-for-18 with no home runs.
Here are today’s particulars.
Jon Lester, LHP vs. Ross Stripling, RHP
Jon Lester is having an outstanding 2018 season. Last seven starts: 1.81 ERA, 0.873 WHIP.
But that was then and this is now. Current Dodgers are hitting .194 (18-for-93) against Jon with 26 strikeouts. That sounds more like the 2018 version of Lester.
Ross Stripling was always that promising prospect who never quite panned out. Until now, when at age 28 he’s having an excellent season. He made 12 relief appearances before joining the Dodgers rotation, and since becoming a starter: eight starts, 1.53 ERA, 0.851 WHIP, only four (!) walks in 47 innings.
So the Cubs should look to put the ball in play this afternoon. Stripling has made three career regular-season relief appearances against the Cubs, faced 21 batters, and only one got a hit off him (May 27, 2017, and that was Miguel Montero, who’s long gone from this team). Current Cubs are 0-for-18 vs. Stripling with six strikeouts. In the postseason, they’ve done a bit better.
I’d expect a low-scoring game today, especially after a long and draining doubleheader Tuesday. (Note when making such predictions: They are often wrong.)
Today’s game is on WGN. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Chicago and Los Angeles 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.