As an introduction to tonight’s game preview, I want to send a big “Thank you!” to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who swept the Milwaukee Brewers in a doubleheader Saturday afternoon, 2-1 and 6-2. That’s four straight for the Bucs over the Brewers and overall Milwaukee has lost seven of its last nine.
That makes the Brewers 55-42 to the Cubs’ 53-38, so the Cubs are one game in first place, with the best record in the National League, as they begin tonight’s action. Note also the large disparity in games played. After tonight, the Cubs will have 92 games played to the Brewers’ 97 (and 93 vs. 98 going into the break after tomorrow), so there’s a five-game difference, and the Cubs have four fewer losses than the Brewers do as of this writing.
Good times. Keep it all going.
- The Cubs have played 10 games this month and are 7-3. All 10 games have been decided by three runs or fewer, nine of 10 by two runs or less, and seven by one run. In those one-run games the Cubs are 4-3.
- This is just the fifth time in franchise history the Cubs have reached at least 53 wins prior to the All-Star Break. The others: 61 in 1969, 57 in 2008, 54 in 1977 and 53 in 2016. The Cubs could surpass the last two in that list by winning Saturday and Sunday.
- The Cubs’ 458 runs scored are one short of the N.L. lead (Rockies, 459) and are sixth in the majors, while their 352 runs allowed are lowest in the N.L. and are second-fewest in the majors (Astros, 305). The Cubs’ average of 5.03 runs per game translates to 815 runs for a 162-game season. If the Cubs do score 800 or more runs this year, that would be the third straight year they’ve done that, and the first time for the franchise accomplishing that since 1929-30-31.
- Jason Heyward is batting .378 (45-for-119) with runners on base this season, the third best mark in the majors behind only Matt Kemp (.389) and Josh Harrison (.385).
- Javier Báez has 18 homers and Kyle Schwarber has 17, giving a pair of teammates with at least 17 home runs by the All-Star break for the third year in a row (both Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant got there in 2016 and 2017). That’s the first time in franchise history for that accomplishment.
Here are today’s particulars.
Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. Luis Perdomo, RHP
Kyle Hendricks’ last start gives me great hope that he’s figured out whatever mechanical flaws gave him a horrific June, and that he’ll have the excellent second half he usually does.
In his career against the Padres: six starts, 2.50 ERA, 0.882 WHIP in 39⅔ innings. His start against them last year, May 29, 2017 in San Diego, was not good: five innings, six hits, five runs. But that was just before he was diagnosed with the finger injury that put him out for a month. Healthy and having presumably figured out his issues, he should be in line for a good outing.
Luis Perdomo wasn’t bad for the Padres in 29 starts last year, but had a shoulder issue and went to the DL in late April. In two starts since his return he’s thrown a fair number of innings (12⅔) but the results have not been good, and overall his walk rate is pretty high (well, relatively; 5.4 is pretty high but not as high as Tyler Chatwood’s).
Last year he threw seven good innings against the Cubs, May 31, 2017 in San Diego, during a period the Cubs offense was sputtering. Hopefully that won’t be the case tonight.
While I was looking up stuff about Perdomo, I discovered there was a different pitcher named Luis Perdomo, unrelated to this guy, who also pitched for the Padres in 2009-10.
Today’s game is on ABC7 Chicago. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Chicago and San Diego 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.