Notes for today:
- Since making his debut with the Cubs last August 1, Cole Hamels has gone 6-3 with a 2.64 ERA (28 earned runs in 95⅓ IP) in 15 starts. In that time frame, Hamels own the seventh-lowest ERA in all of baseball (minimum 80 innings) and the second lowest mark of any left-handed pitcher, trailing only Blake Snell (1.45 ERA, 14 earned runs in 86⅔ innings). More on Hamels below.
- The Cubs bullpen has posted a 1.00 ERA (three earned runs in 27 innings) and .506 OPS against in its last eight games starting April 7 after posting a 9.51 ERA (31 earned runs in 29⅓ innings) and 1.041 OPS against in its first eight games from March 28-April 6. The overall bullpen ERA is 5.43, but it has declined quite quickly over the last eight games.
- The Cubs have completed the first 16 games of their season (roughly 10 percent of the season) without playing extra innings for the first time since making it to Game 23 in 2016. Last year, the Cubs and Marlins played extra innings twice in a four-game set at Marlins Park (March 30 and 31).
- Willson Contreras on Monday hit his sixth home run of the season, most by any catcher in the majors this season. Contreras is the first Cubs catcher to reach six home runs in the team’s first 15 games since Gabby Hartnett hit eight homers through 15 games in 1925. (H/T: Chris Kamka)
Here are today’s particulars.
Cole Hamels, LHP vs. Sandy Alcantara, RHP
Cole Hamels had a rough first start in 2019, but was better in his second outing and lights-out in his last start against the Angels, definitely trending in the right direction. One good sign: After three walks in his first start, he hasn’t walked anyone in 14 innings in his last two outings.
Hamels hasn’t faced the Marlins since July 25, 2017 and there isn’t a single Marlin who appeared in that game who’s still on their roster. The only current Marlins player who has faced Hamels on a regular basis is Martin Prado, who has hit him fairly well: .319 (22-for-69), five doubles, two home runs.
Sandy Alcanatara came up through the Cardinals system and was acquired by the Marlins in the Marcell Ozuna deal in the 2017-18 offseason. This will be his 10th big-league start. He made two relief appearances against the Cubs in September 2017. Current Cubs hitters are 1-for-5 against him (a single by Javier Baez), but that really doesn’t tell us much.
Per Fangraphs, Alcantara can throw 95+ on a regular basis, and he relies on that pitch more than half the time. Here’s hoping the Cubs have a good scouting report on what he throws.
Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago.
SB Nation game preview
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The 2019 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used in previous years. 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.