- Anthony Rizzo update: After three days below, Rizzo’s OPS went back over .800 (at .801 through Friday) with his 3-for-4 day. Since being moved to the leadoff spot: .375/.471/.639 (27-for-72) with five doubles, a triple, four home runs and 10 walks. The team is 11-8 (.579) in the 19 games since Rizzo moved there, and that winning percentage is the same as the team’s right now, a pace for 94 wins. If nothing else, pay attention to that on-base percentage. Who else on this team could produce a .471 OBP in the leadoff spot over a 19-game stretch?
- The Cubs lead the majors with 10 pitchers on the active roster with at least five years of service time, including recent additions Jesse Chavez (8+ years), Cole Hamels (12+) and Brandon Kintzler (6+). The Astros rank second with nine such pitchers, while the closest N.L. team is the Nationals, with seven. The only active Cubs pitchers with fewer than five years of service time are Carl Edwards Jr. (2+), Mike Montgomery (3+) and Kyle Hendricks (4+).
- Despite the Cubs ranking ninth in the National League at 5.4 innings per pitching start, the bullpen is NOT overworked. There are 47 relief pitchers in the N.L. who have thrown at least 50 innings this year. Exactly one is a Cub: Steve Cishek. The success of the guys on the Iowa Shuttle has kept innings down for individual relievers on the Cubs staff. The Cubs rank fifth in the N.L. in relief innings.
- The Cubs have four wins this year when trailing entering the ninth inning, tied for the most in the N.L. and second in the majors (Yankees, five).
Here are today’s particulars.
Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. Walker Lockett, RHP
I feel like I say the same things all the time about Cubs starters, and this is no different. All we’d like is a little consistency. We see a good outing from Kyle Hendricks and think he’s turned the corner, and the next time he doesn’t get out of the fifth inning. Then he does well the next time after that and... well, you get the point.
July 14 against the Padres in San Diego, Kyle threw five innings and allowed two runs. That isn’t great, but since the Padres aren’t great, that was good enough. Frankly, I’d like better out of this one.
Lefthander Joey Lucchesi was supposed to start this game for the Padres, but he was scratched with an unspecified illness. Instead, righthander Walker Lockett gets the call and Lucchesi will start Sunday's game. Lockett was the Padres fourth-round pick in 2012 and has made two appearances for the Padres this year, one in relief, one as a starter.
Lockett has made 19 starts for Triple-A El Paso this year with mediocre results: 4.92 ERA. 1.343 WHIP, 14 HR in 111 innings. In fact, this is his third year at Triple-A in the Padres system and the results the last two years were pretty much the same.
He’s obviously never faced the Cubs or anyone on their roster.
In short, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago.
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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.