Notes for an afternoon game. The pitchers have gotten most of the attention lately, so let’s talk hitting:
- Still worried about Kris Bryant? Over his last nine games: .258/.436/.387 with four doubles, five walks and seven runs. The power could still be a bit better, but he’s definitely hitting and getting on base.
- Willson Contreras has reached base safely in 11 straight games. Over that span: .306/.457/.639 with three doubles, three home runs and seven walks.
- Over his last five games, Anthony Rizzo has reached base 13 times in 21 plate appearances. That brings his season OBP to .367 and his OPS to .790 for the season to date.
- Jason Heyward ranks fifth in the N.L. in BA (.333), fourth in OBP (.450) and eighth in OPS (1.037).
- The Cubs as a team rank second in the N.L. in OBP (.354) and are tied for second-best run differential (+23) with the Dodgers.
Now go out there and sweep this series!
Here are today’s particulars.
Jon Lester, LHP vs. Ross Stripling, RHP
Jon Lester has spent a bit more than two weeks on the injured list after a hamstring injury running the bases April 8. He hasn’t had a rehab assignment, so:
Maddon says realistic exceptions for Lester in Thursday's start will be 75-80 pitches. All depends on how hard he has to work, tough outs, stressful inns, etc. Chatwood could follow given how gm plays out. #Cubs— Kelly Crull (@Kelly_Crull) April 24, 2019
Hopefully, Jon can get through six innings with 80 or so pitches, though that means he’d have to be about at peak efficiency.
Last year Jon made two starts against the Dodgers and allowed two runs in 12 total innings. The start he made against them at Wrigley, June 20, 2018, was excellent: seven shutout innings. Current Dodgers are hitting .268 (34-for-127) against Jon.
Ross Stripling was Lester’s opponent in that 6/20/18 game, allowing three runs in six innings, including a home run by Kyle Schwarber. This year he’s made five starts. He allowed no runs in the first one, and has one other really good outing, eight shutout innings vs. the Brewers April 14 at Dodger Stadium. But when he faced them again April 19 in Milwaukee, he didn’t get out of the fifth inning.
This has been a theme for Stripling his entire career: better in L.A. (2.97 career ERA, 166⅔ innings) than on the road (4.02 career ERA, 159 innings). Hopefully the road blues catch up with him again at Wrigley.
He has never retired Javier Baez: 5-for-5, three doubles, a home run.
Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago. 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.