Notes for yet another Cubs appearance on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball:
- The Cubs already have four players with double digit home run totals this season: Kris Bryant (11), Javier Báez (11), Willson Contreras (11) and Anthony Rizzo (10). The Cubs are the only N.L. team and join the Mariners and Astros as the only three teams in all of baseball with four players to already reach double digits in homers. No other N.L. team has more than two players with 10 or more homers.
- The 2019 season marks the first time in franchise history the Cubs have had four players reach double digits in home runs prior to the end of May.
- Kyle Hendricks has pitched eight innings or more in each of his three starts this month, the first Cubs starter to reach eight innings three times in the same calendar month since Jake Arrieta did four times in September 2015. And, Hendricks is the first pitcher to toss at least eight innings and throw fewer than 100 pitches in three straight starts since Hisashi Iwakuma, May 8-20, 2014. More on Hendricks below.
- Kris Bryant is the first player in more than 50 years to hit at least three homers in a game with every homer coming in the seventh inning or later. The last such player was Art Shamsky (then of the Reds) vs. the Pirates on August 12, 1966, as he had a three-homer game with blasts in the 8th, 10th and 11th innings.
- Bryant is the first Cub to homer off three different pitchers in the same game in exactly 40 years, as Dave Kingman did it on May 17, 1979 as part of that crazy 23-22 loss to the Phillies at Wrigley. (H/T: Ed Hartig)
Here are today’s particulars.
Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. Jeremy Hellickson, RHP
Kyle Hendricks, month of May: three starts, 0.36 ERA (one run, 25 innings), 0.520 WHIP, one walk in 25 innings, opponent slash line .141/.161/.188.
Now that’s dominance.
Kyle made two starts against the Nats last year. August 10 at Wrigley Field: six innings, two runs, no walks, five strikeouts. September 6 in Washington: five innings, one earned run, no walks, six strikeouts. Current Nats are hitting .214 (22-for-103) against Kyle with 29 strikeouts.
Looks good for Kyle to continue his dominance.
Jeremy Hellickson’s first start this year was a good one, but since then: six starts, 7.07 ERA, 1.786 WHIP, seven home runs in 28 innings.
He was Hendricks’ opponent in that August 10, 2018 game. He threw 5x innings and didn’t allow any hits, but issued four walks and the Cubs scored two runs off him. His walk rate is at a career-high 4.3 per nine innings this year, so perhaps the Cubs can wait him out and walk their way to victory tonight.
No current Cub has more than seven career at-bats vs. Hellickson.
Today’s game is on ESPN.
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.