The big news of the afternoon is David Bote’s just-signed contract extension. Details on that here.
Look at it this way. We are almost certain to have already watched the most horrific Cubs game of 2019, with 158 to go.
Feel better now?
Notes for tonight:
- The Cubs and Braves play seven games in their two series this year. After Thursday, the teams will meet in a four-game series at Wrigley Field, June 24-27. The Cubs are 9-4 in their last 13 games in Atlanta dating to the start of the 2015 season.
- Despite going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position on Monday, the Cubs are hitting .306 (15-for-49) with RISP thus far, the fifth-best mark in the N.L. Also, despite being shut out on Monday, the Cubs are averaging seven runs per game to start the season, third-best in the N.L. behind the Dodgers (8.33) and Phillies (7.75).
- The three-game series in Texas saw the Cubs score 28 runs, tied for the most the team has scored in the opening three games of a season against the same team in franchise history. That last happened in 1895 against the Cardinals. (H/T: Ed Hartig)
- Javier Baez finished the Rangers series 6-for-14 (.429) with five runs, two homers, six RBI and two stolen bases. That makes him just the third Cub in the last 100 years to complete a three-game series with at least six hits, five runs, two homers, six RBI and two steals. The others: Joe Marty in 1937 against the Philadelphia Phillies and Andre Dawson in 1987 against the Houston Astros.
Here are today’s particulars.
David Bote will begin the first day of his long-term deal with the Cubs on the bench.
Jon Lester, LHP vs. Julio Teheran, RHP
Cubs pitchers have made four starts this year, and only one of them can be described as anywhere near “good.” That start was made by Jon Lester, who allowed the Rangers two runs in six innings on Opening Day.
Now, that start wasn’t great — Game Score just 57 — but it’s all we’ve got right now.
Jon did not face the Braves last year, and so his last start against them (July 17, 2017) isn’t really indicative, since many of the young Braves stars of 2019 weren’t on the team then. Freddie Freeman has hit him pretty well (6-for-20, two HR) but he’s done well vs. Nick Markakis (.236, 21 strikeouts in 89 career at-bats).
As noted, Lester threw well enough to win on Opening Day. Let’s hope for that to continue.
Julio Teheran allowed three runs in five innings to the Phillies on Opening Day. In his last start against the Cubs, May 14, 2018 at Wrigley Field, he allowed a pair of two-run homers (Albert Almora Jr., Kris Bryant).
Overall, though, current Cubs have had trouble with him: .184 (14-for-76), though with 11 walks. The usual small sample size caveats apply here.
Today’s game is on WGN. It’s also on ESPN (outside the Chicago and Atlanta markets).
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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.