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Chicago Cubs vs. Minnesota Twins preview, Friday 6/29, 4:05 CT

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Hey, here’s an opponent we don’t see very often. And they played a long extra-inning game Thursday.

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Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Twins played a four-hour, 51-minute game against the White Sox Thursday afternoon in which they employed seven relievers.

Here’s hoping those relievers are all worn out for the game this afternoon.

I’ve already explained why this game starts at 4:05.

Now let’s talk about Yu Darvish.

He suffered a setback in his bullpen session Thursday, and the team is re-evaluating the next step:

“It didn’t go that well and he was not able to cut it loose,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said after Darvish’s workout at Dodger Stadium. “We’ll re-evaluate once we go back to Chicago and let you know the next step. For right now, he’s not going to be able to pitch on Saturday.”

The good news for the rotation is that with two off days next week, the Cubs don’t need Darvish. That, of course, presumes that Tyler Chatwood can stop his 2018 walkathon. If Chatwood can recover his previous level of performance, the five men currently in the Cubs rotation can handle things for a while.

I assume they’ll have another bullpen session over the weekend, then maybe another rehab start. This means — and I had anticipated this before Darvish’s first rehab start — he’s likely not back until after the All-Star break. That still leaves enough time to have a decent second half.

We can hope, right?

Notes:

  • Beginning today, 46 the Cubs’ final 82 games (56 percent) will be played at the Friendly Confines and, including three games at the White Sox in September, 49 will be played within the city of Chicago (60 percent).
  • Willson Contreras has reached safely in his last 18 interleague games dating to May 6 of last season, hitting .377 (29-for77) with six homers and 19 RBI in that stretch. Just four Cubs have had longer interleague on-base streaks: Henry Rodriguez (25 games, 1998-2000), Alfonso Soriano (22 games, 2012-13), Mark Grace (21 games, 1997-98) and Sammy Sosa (19 games, 2000-01).
  • Anthony Rizzo has reached 50 RBI by the end of June for the third season in a row, becoming only the third player in franchise history to accomplish that. The others: Ernie Banks (three seasons in a row from 1958-60) and Sammy Sosa (seven seasons in a row from 1996-2002).

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Twins lineup:

Mike Montgomery, LHP vs. Jose Berrios, RHP

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Montgomery has been just outstanding since he joined the rotation. 2.02 ERA, 0.925 WHIP in six starts covering 35⅔ innings, so he’s averaged just a smidge under six innings per start, and the ERA would be better if some runs charged to him hadn’t been let in last Sunday in Cincinnati.

MiMo has one career start against the Twins, and it was in 2015, so not really too relevant to today. Current members of the Twins haven’t faced him much at all, just 2-for-19 (both singles) with six strikeouts. Hopefully that’s a good sign for this game.

Jose Berrios is a really good pitcher. It’s not too much of a stretch to say that if not for Berrios, the Twins might be mired down at the bottom of the A.L. Central with the Royals and White Sox, as they are 10-6 in games he’s started, 24-36 in all other games.

Over his last eight starts: 2.05 ERA, 0.860 WHIP, and that includes seven shutout innings against the Rangers with 12 strikeouts in his last outing June 24.

But then, that’s the Rangers. The Cubs, I believe, are better.

Berrios has never faced the Cubs or anyone on the current roster. This might be a tough one today.

Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

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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.


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