Oh, joy. Here we go again! Rain might interrupt tonight’s game.
Before I get to Cubs notes, I wanted to mention that the Brewers and Cardinals open a four-game series tonight in St. Louis. Normally, when you have two divisional rivals like that playing a four-game set you’d root for a split. In this case, though, I think I’d like to see the Cardinals take three of four, since the Cubs are 4½ games ahead of St. Louis and if the Cubs can take care of business in Cincinnati, they’d wind up with a significant lead over both the Brewers and Cardinals. Plus, the Brewers’ next six games after this weekend are against the Royals and Reds, so it would be good to see Milwaukee lose a few in St. Louis.
Remember, you are not rooting for the Cardinals to win. You are rooting for the Brewers to lose.
- In their last 23 games since May 27, the Cubs are 16-1 when scoring at least two runs in a game. The team has been held to one or no runs in six of seven losses in that span.
- According to Fangraphs.com, Cubs position players have recorded 39 defensive runs saved this season, third-most in the majors behind the Diamondbacks (53) and Brewers (51). Cubs outfielders have logged 19 defensive runs saved, fifth-most among big league outfield corps (Arizona leads with 29).
- Javier Baez is looking to become the first Cubs right-handed hitter to reach 15 homers and 15 steals in a season since Alfonso Soriano did so in both 2007 and 2008. The last Cubs second baseman to reach 15 homers and 15 steals was Ryne Sandberg in 1992.
- Kyle Schwarber has homered in two consecutive games, and he’s now averaged one home run every 14.71 at bats this season (14 HR/206 AB), the third-best ratio in the N.L. behind Bryce Harper (13.32) and Eugenio Suarez (14.00). Also, Schwarber has averaged one walk every 5.95 plate appearances, the fourth-best mark in the N.L.
- University of Cincinnati alum Ian Happ is batting .345 (20-for-58) with nine homers, 17 RBI and a 1.420 OPS in 20 career games against the Reds, including a .406 average (13-for-32), five homers and a 1.618 OPS in 10 games at Great American Ball Park.
Here are today’s particulars.
See above for the reason Ian Happ is starting and Albert Almora Jr. isn’t.
Adam Duvall is hitting .199. Billy Hamilton has a .294 OBP. Since the beginning of 2017 Matt Harvey is 4-for-54 (.074). That’s pretty much a black hole at the bottom of the Reds lineup.
Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. Matt Harvey, RHP
Kyle Hendricks is having a decent season. Every time he goes out there you think he’s going to give the team seven innings and induce a lot of weak contact, and every time recently he’s not quite gotten there.
However. Kyle has been a second-half pitcher most of his career. (3.40 ERA first half, 2.61 ERA second half.) Hopefully that “second half” starts now.
His only start against the Reds this year was May 19, the first game of a doubleheader that day. He threw five innings and allowed four runs (three earned), partly as a result of some shoddy defense. The Cubs are playing much better defense now.
Matt Harvey came to the Reds from the Mets for Devin Mesoraco, in a deal both teams felt a change of scenery might help.
So far, the Mets are getting the better end of this trade. Mesoraco is hitting .235/.330/482 with six home runs in 85 at-bats for the Mets.
Harvey? He has a 5.09 ERA and seven home runs allowed in 35⅓ innings as a Red, which is pretty bad. And that’s an improvement over the 7.00 ERA he had with the Mets in eight appearances (four starts) this year.
He has made 11 starts this year. Three of them can be described as “good.” The rest range from mediocre to awful. Last four starts: 6.75 ERA, 1.453 WHIP, five home runs in 21⅓ innings. The last time the Cubs faced him, September 13, 2017 at Wrigley Field, they absolutely pounded him. Current Cubs are hitting .349 (15-for-43) against Harvey with four home runs.
Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Chicago and Cincinnati 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.