Notes for today:
- The Cubs are off to a 10-3 record in May, the best start to this month in the National League (the Astros are a MLB-best 11-3). This is the second 10-3 start to May the Cubs have had in the last four years (also 2016).
- Kris Bryant entered Saturday’s game with a season slash line of .242/.392/.500 (.892 OPS). Over his last three games (7-for-14, HR, 2B), he has raised his season batting average 25 points, his OBP by eight points and his slugging by 27 points and now has a .267 batting average, .400 on-base percentage and .527 slugging percentage (.927 OPS).
- Javier Baez last night singled in the 10th inning to extend his hitting streak to 13 games, extending his career high and the second longest active streak in the majors (Josh Bell has hit safely in 15 straight games). Javy’s hitting streak is the longest by any Cubs player since Anthony Rizzo’s 14-game streak from June 6-20, 2017.
- The Cubs are 9-4 within the N.L. Central this season, the best intradivision mark of any of the five divisional teams. They have also played the fewest games inside the division of any N.L. Central team (Brewers 11-8, Cardinals 11-13, Pirates 9-6, Reds 4-12).
Here are today’s particulars.
Jose Quintana, LHP vs. Luis Castillo, RHP
Jose Quintana, last five starts: 2.78 ERA, 1.052 WHIP.
This is the guy we thought we were getting a year and a half (or so) ago. Here’s hoping it keeps up. Last year against the Reds: 3.27 ERA, 1.500 WHIP in four starts. Despite his lefthandedness, Q has not been able to stop Joey Votto, who is 7-for-14 (four doubles) against him. The rest of the current Reds are hitting just .225 against Q.
So, stop Votto and you’ve probably stopped the Reds tonight.
Luis Castillo is a very good pitcher who is off to an excellent start this season, with a 1.56 ERA and 0.994 WHIP and 70 (!) strikeouts in 56⅓ innings.
Last year, the Cubs hit him pretty well, as he posted a 4.74 ERA and 1.541 WHIP against them in five starts.
He has held Cubs hitters to a .232 BA (23-for-97), though Kyle Schwarber has homered twice off him. So has Daniel Descalso (4-for-10). Perhaps new Cub Descalso will be the key to tonight’s game.
Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Reds market territories).
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.