Entering Friday’s action, the 10 postseason teams from last year are a combined 34-37 and only three of them (Athletics, Brewers, Dodgers) are over .500. The 108-win Red Sox from last year are 2-6, and you know where the Cubs stand.
It’s early still, very early. These things could turn around in a week or two, and I expect them to, especially for the Cubs. Patience, please.
Fun fact: The Cubs are averaging six runs per game so far this year. The Brewers are averaging four runs per game.
Notes for today:
- After today’s action is complete, the Cubs and Red Sox will be the only teams yet to play a home game. Both teams have home openers scheduled for Monday.
- The Cubs have scored four or more runs in five of their first six games for just the fourth time in the last 20 seasons (also 2003, 2011 and 2016 — two of those years ended up pretty well). The Cubs’ .307 batting average (66-for-215) and .398 on-base percentage both lead the majors and their .881 OPS is third in the majors behind the Dodgers (.945) and Phillies (.915). Lastly, the Cubs are averaging six runs per game thus far, fifth in the majors and third-highest in the N.L. behind the Dodgers (7.86) and Phillies (7.80).
- Conversely, the Cubs are MLB-worst in WHIP (2.047), walks (41), walks per nine innings (7.5) and hits per nine innings (10.9), and second-worst in ERA (6.93).
- Willson Contreras’ 18 catcher pickoffs dating to 2016 are by far the most in the majors. Yan Gomes is second with nine catcher pickoffs in that span.
- Pedro Strop’s next strikeout will be the 500th of his MLB career.
Here are today’s particulars.
The pitcher goes back to hitting ninth tonight. It should be noted that Jose Quintana is probably the worst-hitting pitcher on the staff, with a lifetime BA of .059 (6-for-101) with 57 strikeouts.
Jose Quintana, LHP vs. Brandon Woodruff, RHP
If there were ever “the right guy” to break the Cubs’ losing streak, it would seem to be Jose Quintana tonight, because he has had remarkable success against the Brewers in his career.
In 11 lifetime starts vs. Milwaukee, Q has a 1.62 ERA and 0.843 WHIP. Six starts at Miller Park, even better: 1.55 ERA, 0.836 WHIP. Current Brewers are hitting .229 (64-for-280) against him with 68 strikeouts. Mike Moustakas has homered three times off him, but he’s the only Brewer who’s shown any real power. Ryan Braun has a pair of homers, but a .194 BA (6-for-31).
This is the right guy to turn things around. Q’s only appearance so far this year was a four-inning relief stint vs. the Rangers last Saturday, in which he struck out eight.
Brandon Woodruff has made one start this year, March 30 vs. the Cardinals, and threw five innings, allowing two runs and striking out five.
Last year he made one start and one relief appearance vs. the Cubs, in between some Triple-A stints. No current Cubs hitter has more than four career at-bats against him, so there’s not much predictive value in that. Daniel Descalso has homered off Woodruff, who relies mostly on a 95+ fastball and slider, per Fangraphs.
Today’s game is on WGN.
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.