More on Cole Hamels below, but here’s a Jesse Rogers article on Hamels posted this morning, in which there are hints that the Cubs might just have found the starter they need:
Cubs manager Joe Maddon sees the same Hamels who helped the Philadelphia Phillies beat him in the 2008 World Series and the same one who no-hit Maddon and the Cubs in 2015.
”He may have thrown a little harder back then,” Maddon said. “But he’s still throwing hard. It’s not like he’s lost his fastball. He hasn’t.
”I love when he uses his changeup. And I love when he uses his curveball. ... The hook is there, and then it’s gone. The changeup is the pitch I’ve always loved with him.”
To me as well, Hamels looked like the guy who had been one of the best pitchers in baseball when he was with those contending Phillies teams.
Another article of note, by Patrick Mooney at The Athletic ($), gives us an update on Kris Bryant:
Before Alex Rodriguez updates Bryant’s condition on “Sunday Night Baseball,” know that Cubs executives and the training staff and Bryant are all in agreement that the player shouldn’t be activated until he’s feeling 100 percent. Meaning the Cubs aren’t rushing Bryant back and asking him to completely revamp his swing and hoping he can find other ways to contribute as a patient hitter, lineup presence, good baserunner and versatile defender.
“They’ve shown how much they care about me,” Bryant said. “They want me to be 100 percent out there. Yeah, I feel terrible not being out there. But everybody’s making it a lot easier for me to not feel as guilty because they’re supporting me 100 percent.”
There are hints in that article that Bryant won’t be back until September. With David Bote playing as well as he is (also noted by Bryant), why rush?
There’s some stuff in that article about Bryce Harper and how he and Bryant and their wives went to dinner in Chicago Saturday night. I don’t read anything into that at all other than they and their wives know each other and they’re in the same city. I would be shocked if Bryce Harper became a Cub in 2019.
Here are today’s particulars.
Cole Hamels, LHP vs. Max Scherzer, RHP
Well, ESPN sure got themselves a marquee pitching matchup. Fun fact: These two pitchers have combined for 704 major-league starts. Tonight is the first time they’ve ever faced each other.
Cole Hamels has been very good in his first two Cubs starts, hinting that the idea that he would be better outside of Globe Life Park is true. Tonight is his first start as a Cub at Wrigley Field, where he has a lifetime 1.76 ERA and 0.854 WHIP in six starts covering 41 innings. The last two of those were against pretty good Cubs teams, including his no-hitter in 2015 and eight shutout innings vs. the Cubs July 17, 2016 as a member of the Rangers, his last start at Wrigley.
He last started against the Nationals in 2015, when he made three starts against them as a member of the Phillies. Current members of the Nats are hitting .248 (60-for-242) against him with seven home runs, three by Ryan Zimmerman.
When we last saw Max Scherzer, the Cubs were hitting him hard in Game 5 of the division series last October.
Against the Cubs in the regular season he has a 2.92 ERA and 0.973 WHIP in six career starts. The last one was June 27, 2017 at Washington: six innings, one run. He’s had less luck at Wrigley against the Cubs: 3.75 ERA, 1.333 WHIP, four home runs in 24 innings. Current Cubs are hitting .262 (17-for-65) against him with six home runs, three by Ben Zobrist.
Today’s game is on ESPN.
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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.