If you think the Cubs have had a rough month of June, consider the plight of the Washington Nationals, another good team:
(1/2) More on #Nationals’ record-breaking month of futility. With 3 games left in June, all @Phillies, the Nats have been shutout 7 times and a have a great chance to become the first team since the 1976 Padres to be shut out 8 times in a calendar month. Led by a 24-year-old ...— Mark Camps (@mcamps) June 28, 2018
(2/2) ... outfielder named Dave Winfield, the Padres were blanked 8 times in July 1976, going 10-20, averaging 2.3 runs p/g. According to my occasionally flawed research, since expansion in 1961, no team has been blanked 9 times in a calendar month. I dare you to prove me wrong.— Mark Camps (@mcamps) June 28, 2018
The Cubs are 13-12 this month with three games remaining in the month. Win them all and that’s a 16-12 month, which would be... just fine.
- Today marks the Cubs’ 44th road game of the season, tied with the Rockies for the most games away from home by any major league team thus far. Conversely and not surprisingly, the Cubs have played the fewest home games of any team in the majors with 35, and yet still possess the fourth-best record in the N.L.
- Jon Lester has wrapped up June a perfect 5-0 with a 1.13 ERA (4 ER/32 IP) in five starts this month while limiting opponents to a .477 OPS. He joins Zach Eflin (5-0, 1.76) as the only pitchers in all of baseball with five wins this month while Lester’s 1.13 ERA leads the National League. Sounds like a potential N.L. Pitcher of the Month award for Jon. Also, Lester’s 1.13 ERA is third-lowest by any qualifying Cubs lefthander in June dating to 1913, trailing only Larry French (0.26 ERA in June 1936) and Hippo Vaughn (0.76 ERA in June 1917).
- Anthony Rizzo, who this week marked the sixth anniversary of his debut with the Cubs on June 26, 2012, already ranks 13th in franchise history with 177 home runs, third most by a left-handed hitter behind only Billy Williams (392) and Bill Nicholson (205) … Rizzo’s .858 OPS trails only Williams (.867) for best by a left-handed hitter in franchise history.
Here are today’s particulars.
Jose Quintana, LHP vs. Clayton Kershaw, LHP
Jose Quintana has shown flashes of the guy we thought the Cubs were getting in the trade last year. But he’s failed to be consistent and has thrown six innings only once in his last four starts and just seven times overall in 15 starts this year.
Q has two regular-season starts vs. the Dodgers, but they were in 2012 and 2014, so likely not relevant to today, although he has a 0.00 ERA against them in 14 innings (he did allow five unearned runs in one of those games). He started Game 5 of the 2017 NLCS against the Dodgers and trust me, you don’t want to look at that boxscore link (and you probably remember the pounding he took). He’ll need to do better today.
Clayton Kershaw has been injured much of this year, with biceps tendinitis as well as a back strain. Despite that, he’s made nine starts and been decent in most of them. In his only start since his latest return from the DL, he threw just three innings and 55 pitches.
His last regular-season start against the Cubs was May 28, 2017 at Dodger Stadium, and the Cubs hit him pretty hard: nine hits and four runs in four innings, including home runs by Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and Willson Contreras. He made two starts against the Cubs in last year’s NLCS and allowed three total runs in 11 innings, and Albert Almora Jr. homered off him in one of those games.
So maybe he’s a bit susceptible to the long ball. Let’s hope the Cubs bring their proverbial hitting shoes today.
Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago. 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.