- Update on Anthony Rizzo, no-longer-relief-pitcher, but still leadoff man: Since moving to the leadoff spot, .516/.619/.742, 16-for-31, five doubles, a triple, eight walks, two HBP, team record 6-3.
- Rizzo since June 28: .359/.457/.487, 28-for-78, eight doubles, one triple, 12 walks, three HBP. The only thing that’s missing here: home runs. Rizzo hasn’t homered since June 24.
- Including Sunday’s win, the Cubs lead the majors with 32 come-from-behind victories this season. The Phillies are second with 29 such wins and the Red Sox are third with 28.
- From Chris Kamka, here’s a complete history of Cubs position players who pitched.
All the recent first-inning runs had led me to believe that the Cubs had a “first-inning problem,” as they were purported to have last year. This shows that really isn’t true:
#Cubs have been outscored 60-53 in the first inning this season, including 5-0 tonight.— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) July 24, 2018
So before Monday’s game, the Cubs had allowed 55 runs in the first inning this year and scored 53. It’s still pretty much even. Hopefully, they can make up some of that deficit tonight and not have to come from behind again.
Here are today’s particulars.
Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. Clay Buchholz, RHP
Kyle Hendricks’ last start... well, it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t really good either... I just wish Kyle and the coaching staff could figure out why his location isn’t what it used to be. You know he lives and dies by locating. It appeared earlier this month he’d solved that issue, now it’s back again.
It has been a while since Hendricks faced the D-backs — not since April 9, 2016 in Arizona. That means most of the current D-backs haven’t faced him much, just 7-for-38 (.184). That’s good; so is the 0-for-5 put up by Paul Goldschmidt. Small sample size, but Goldschmidt is the D-back who generally hurts the Cubs most. Hopefully, this is a good sign.
Clay Buchholz. Man, he’s still around?
Buchholz was a first-round pick of the Red Sox in 2005 and pitched for them through 2016, so Theo & Co. are quite familiar with him. He’s made 11 different trips to the disabled list in his big-league career, the latest one ending today when he was activated after being out nearly a month with a strained left oblique.
He has one career start against the Cubs, July 1, 2014 in Boston, and I post that link mostly for amusement value. He faced Ben Zobrist quite a bit when both were in the A.L. East; Zobrist is 7-for-40 against him. Joe Maddon and Jim Hickey also should be quite familiar with him from their time in the A.L. East.
Buchholz is 33 now. I have no idea what to expect from him, though he made seven starts, most of which were decent, before this DL stint.
Today’s game is on WGN. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Chicago and Phoenix 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.