Sunday’s game marks the Cubs’ final interleague meeting of 2018. They’re 12-7 so far against the American League, and this year, for the first time in 14 years, the N.L. won more games in interleague play than the A.L. You might find that odd, given that there might be as many as four (!) A.L. teams winning 100 games this year, but there are also likely going to be four 95+ loss teams in the A.L. The balance is closer than you might think, and that applies to postseason play too, I believe. I’ll have more to say about this once the postseason begins.
It’s also the Cubs’ final road game of 2018, and they have already clinched a winning road record at 43-37. They’ve had a winning road mark every year since Joe Maddon became manager in 2015, and overall their road mark since 2015 is 181-138 (.567). That winning percentage would equate to a 92-win full season. It’s the first time in more than 100 years that the Cubs have had a winning record on the road at least four years in a row. The last time was an 11-season run of winning road records from 1902-12.
- Beginning with the game of July 13, Anthony Rizzo ranks second in the majors with a .424 on-base percentage, trailing only Bryce Harper (.430) in this span.
- Ben Zobrist enters today’s game ranked third in the National League with a .311 batting average this season, trailing Christian Yelich (.320) and Scooter Gennett (.316). The Cubs haven’t had a Top 5 finish in N.L. batting average since Derrek Lee won the 2005 batting title with a .335 average.
- Cubs relievers threw four more scoreless innings Saturday, lowering the team’s bullpen ERA to 3.34, by far the lowest in the National League (next lowest, Padres at 3.49) — and the good recent performance has happened without Brandon Morrow or Pedro Strop, a real credit to all the other guys stepping up.
Here are today’s particulars.
White Sox lineup:
Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. Carlos Rodon, LHP
Kyle Hendricks has clicked at just the right time of the season. Last six starts: 1.63 ERA, 0.983 WHIP, just two home runs and six walks in 38⅔ innings.
He threw six innings and allowed four runs (three earned) against the White Sox May 13 at Wrigley Field. Matt Davidson homered off him. But that was then, and this is now, and now is much better for Kyle.
One thing I’m happy about today regarding Kyle is that the Cubs get to use a DH. Hendricks, who is not a good hitter in general, is having a particularly miserable year at the plate: 4-for-58 (.069) with 30 strikeouts.
The Cubs owe the Sox a thank-you for selecting Carlos Rodon with the third overall pick in 2014, because I’m pretty sure if he had been on the board when the Cubs selected with the fourth overall pick, they would have taken him. Instead, the Cubs chose Kyle Schwarber. That turned out pretty well, I’d say.
Rodon has had an injury-prone career and has yet to make 30 starts in a season. He won’t this year, either, but this season he has finally shown some of the promise that made the Sox take him so high.
In September, though, it looks like he’s run out of gas a little: 5.25 ERA, 1.625 WHIP, 15 walks and four home runs in 24 innings.
The last time he faced the Cubs was May 25, 2017 at Wrigley Field, and they hit him hard: seven hits, three walks and four runs in four innings, including a home run by Willson Contreras. He did strike out 11 that day. Overall current Cubs hitters are hitting .348 against him in a small sample size (8-for-23).
Today’s game is on ABC7 Chicago with Len & JD. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Chicago market), and the White Sox broadcast is on NBC Sports Chicago.
NOTE: MLB Network has announced they are picking up the White Sox broadcast today, as it is Hawk Harrelson’s final broadcast.
Please visit our SB Nation White Sox site South Side Sox. If you do go there to interact with White Sox fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.
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.