- Javier Baez’ fourth-inning solo homer Friday means he has homered in five of his last nine games since April 16. Baez’ nine homers this season are second-most by any Cub in a single March/April. Alfonso Soriano hit 10 homers in the season’s opening month in 2011.
- In his last eight games since April 17, Kris Bryant is hitting .280 (7-for-25) with a .455 OBP and a .975 OPS with seven walks and only five strikeouts. Still worried about KB? Don’t be.
- Daniel Descalso is hitting .500 (8-for-16) with 10 RBI with runners in scoring position. That’s tied for the highest mark in the N.L. with Josh Bell and tied for fourth-highest in the majors.
- The Cubs have completed the first 24 games of 2019 without playing extra innings for the first time since making it to Game 28 in 2006. Partly as a result of this, the Cubs have pitched the third-fewest innings in baseball (208⅓ innings). Only the Twins (203 innings) and White Sox (206 innings) have fewer. FWIW, the Cubs team record for the most games from the start of a season without playing extra innings is 47, set in 1968.
- The roof will be open again tonight at Chase Field. Friday’s game was the first Cubs game on artificial turf since a two-game set at Tampa Bay, September 19-20, 2017. Prior to that, the Cubs had not played on artificial turf since September 8-10, 2014 in Toronto. The new artificial turf at Chase Field looks great and I’m glad they got rid of that silly “path” from the plate to the pitcher’s mound.
Here are today’s particulars.
Yu Darvish, RHP vs. Zack Godley, RHP
Well, he’s starting another game. He’s healthy. He’s thrown pitches as fast as 99 miles per hour this season. He’s got the second-best strikeout/nine inning rate among Cubs starters (9.9; first is Jose Quintana at 11.6).
But man, the walks — 7.1 per nine innings, approaching 2018 Tyler Chatwood territory, and that includes a game in which he didn’t walk anyone. Of the 407 pitches he has thrown this year, only 30 of them have come after the fifth inning.
His start vs. the D-backs last Saturday at Wrigley Field wasn’t terrible — he struck out seven in five innings — but it wasn’t all that good either.
We can only hope things will be better this time.
Zack Godley has made five starts this year. Two of them have been decent, the other three were pretty bad, so overall his 6.67 ERA and 1.593 WHIP are pretty reflective of his performance.
The last time he faced the Cubs was July 26, 2018 at Wrigley Field, where he allowed four runs in 5⅔ innings.
A curiosity about Godley: In 2018 he led the N.L. in hit batters (12) and led the major leagues in wild pitches (17). The Cubs currently have been hit the most times by opposing pitchers in 2019, 16 HBP. Something to watch for, perhaps. Note that I’m not saying Godley throws at hitters, just that he has had trouble with command and control.
Based on these pitchers’ records so far in 2019, this figures to be a high-scoring affair.
Today’s game is on ABC7 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.