Notes for a Tuesday evening:
- After starting the season with three wins in their first 10 games, the Cubs have won seven of their last 10 games. The only other years the Cubs started a season with three or fewer wins in their first 10 games only to win at least seven of their next 10 games were 1892 (2-8, 7-3) and 1972 (2-8, 7-3). (H/T: Elias)
- Cubs pitching has been outstanding recently. They have posted a 1.73 ERA (19 earned runs in 99 innings) in their last 11 games since April 8, far and away the best ERA in that span. The Reds are second in that span with a 2.89 ERA while the Pirates are third at 3.20.
- The pitching staff has allowed one or no runs in seven of the team’s last 11 games, a stretch only seen one other time in the last 55 years. That came in 2016, from August 6-17, in which the staff recorded two shutouts and allowed one run apiece in five games. (H/T: Ed Hartig)
- More pitching: Cubs starting pitchers in the team’s last nine games have posted a 1.25 ERA (eight earned runs in 57⅔ innings), walking 13 and striking out 63 while holding the opponent to a .184 average (37-for-201). And, the bullpen has posted a 1.66 ERA (seven earned runs in 38 innings) and .622 OPS against in its last 12 games starting April 7.
- On to the hitters: David Bote is a career .370 (10-for-27) hitter with three homers and 11 RBI in 30 plate appearances in the ninth inning or later.
- Kris Bryant has posted a .387 on-base percentage in his last seven games, hitting safely in five of those contests with three doubles, four walks, five runs scored and two RBI. Sure seems like KB is starting to hit again.
Here are today’s particulars.
Jose Quintana, LHP vs. Kenta Maeda, RHP
Jose Quintana, last two starts: 14 innings, 10 hits, one walk, 18 strikeouts, 0.00 ERA. That’s the Q we thought we’d see the last year and a half. He also had a good relief outing in his first appearance this year against the Rangers. The only clunker was in Milwaukee.
Last year he faced the Dodgers in L.A. (June 28) and did... all right, three earned runs in 5⅓ innings. Max Muncy homered off him.
I’m trying to find a reason that Q will continue his dominance and here’s something: In his career, he’s been better in night games (3.23 ERA in 130 appearances) than day games (4.15 ERA in 92 appearances). So there’s that, anyway.
Kenta Maeda has made four starts this year. Three of them have been pretty good, the fourth wasn’t.
Last time he pitched in Wrigley Field, June 25, 2018, he threw seven shutout innings. That’s enough of that, I’d say.
Current Cubs are a small sample size 8-for-45 (.178) against Maeda. If you include postseason play, they are 14-for-78, which is... .179. I should probably stop here.
Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Dodgers market territories). MLB Network’s broadcast is a “showcase” — their own production, featuring announcers Bob Costas, John Smoltz and Tom Verducci. If you have “cut the cord,” NBC Sports Chicago games can be streamed in the Cubs’ market territory via Fubo. Sign up for Fubo here.
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.