This was mentioned in the comments to yesterday’s recap and I thought I’d put it here for wider distribution.
The Cubs appear to be a team better suited to baseball in sunshine this year. Reasons? Who knows? But here are the numbers:
Cubs in night games in 2018: 29-27
Cubs in day games in 2018: 35-19
The Cubs have 52 games remaining this season. 30 of them are night games, 22 are day games, including Sunday afternoon’s contest against the Padres.
If they play to thir current percentages in the remaining games, they would go 16-14 in the remaining night games, 14-8 in the remaining day games.
That’s 30-22, which would be a 94-68 season.
That’s probably enough for a division title.
They can start by winning this afternoon, another day game.
More notes for today:
- Anthony Rizzo, leadoff hitter (since July 13): .377/.467/.675 (29-for-77), six doubles, a triple, five home runs, 10 walks. Cubs record: 12-8. Today, he gets the day off, at least as a starter.
- Rizzo needs five more hits for 1,000 in his career. His OPS of .811 is his highest of the year since Opening Day.
- The Cubs are 3-1 in August after going 15-10 in July. Their last losing calendar month was May 2017 (12-16).
- With the Dodgers blown out by the Astros 14-0 Saturday night, the Cubs resumed their previous place, having the best run differential in the National League at +102. The Dodgers now stand at +94.
- The Cubs continue to lead the National League in runs, runs per game, BA, OBP and OPS. They are fifth in fewest runs allowed (449), but that’s only nine more runs than the co-leaders, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks.
- The Cubs are 5-1 against the Padres with one game remaining. They haven’t won six games in a season against San Diego since 1999, and the teams played nine games that year.
Here are today’s particulars.
Jon Lester, LHP vs. Joey Lucchesi, LHP
Jon Lester has been a bit of an enigma this year. He had a low ERA all the way through late June, but his peripherals didn’t match that... K rate down, walk rate up. His last seven starts have been pretty bad: 6.06 ERA, 1.710 WHIP, seven home runs in 35⅔ innings.
Yikes. That’s really pretty bad.
Facing the Padres in San Diego last month, he had a decent-but-not-great outing: 5⅓ innings, six hits, three walks, three runs, seven strikeouts.
He’s posted a slightly better ERA at home (2.97, 11 starts) than on the road (3.48, 11 starts), so there’s that, and of his 17 home runs allowed this year, 11 are on the road, only six at Wrigley. So maybe pitching at home will get Jon back on track.
Joey Lucchesi was originally scheduled to start Saturday, but an unspecified illness kept him in his hotel room all day Friday and he was pushed back to today.
Lucchesi, San Diego’s fourth-round pick in 2016, is a 25-year-old rookie this year. He’s made 16 starts and posted decent numbers: 3.74 ERA, 1.260 WHIP, although with 13 home runs served up in 77 innings.
He had a rough July: 5.21 ERA, 1.368 WHIP in four starts. He has never faced the Cubs or anyone on the current roster, which has occasionally been trouble for Cubs teams, though they handled a similar pitcher (Walker Lockett) well on Saturday.
The Cubs are 18-8 against lefthanded starters so far this year. That should give them something of an advantage this afternoon.
Today’s game is on WGN.
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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.