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Chicago Cubs vs. Philadelphia Phillies preview, Monday 5/20, 7:05 CT

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This pitching matchup ought to be fun.

Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

As usual, Joe Maddon has the right approach for Yu Darvish to take tonight:

“I wish (Darvish) wouldn’t pit it against Jake,” Maddon said. “It’s him against the Phillies. I want him to think that way.”

Maddon said Darvish comparing himself to Arrieta is “a bad trap.”

This is exactly right. The Darvish/Arrieta matchup is something for fans to talk about. For Darvish, he has to approach it as another start, and prepare for the hitters he has to face. Maddon added:

“We’ve just got to get him and the catcher (Victor Caratini) on the same page if they have a good game plan going. The result will be the result. If we can get just get him to process the day like he did the other day in Cincinnati, I’ll take the result.”

Smart man, that Joe Maddon. Hopefully the Cubs will keep him around as long as he wants to be here.

Notes:

  • After starting the season 3-8 in their first 11 games, the Cubs are now 24-9 (.727) in their last 33 games starting April 11, the best record in the majors in this span. The Yankees are next closest with a 23-10 record, while the Dodgers are the next closest N.L. club at 23-12.
  • This is by far the quickest the Cubs have had four players with at least 11 homers each (44 games).he previous mark was 59 games in 1967 when Ron Santo homered on June 18 to join Ernie Banks, Adolfo Phillips and Billy Williams. (H/T: Ed Hartig)
  • The Cubs have a +59 run differential, the second-best mark in the National League (behind only the Dodgers, +65) and the fourth-best mark in the majors.
  • Javier Baez is tied for second in the majors with 28 extra-base hits, two shy of Josh Bell (30). Baez, who had a career-high 15-game hitting streak snapped on Saturday, ranks tied for second in the N.L. with 59 hits, fifth with a .595 slugging percentage, tied for sixth with 34 runs scored, eighth with a .953 OPS and tied for ninth with 11 homers.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Phillies lineup:

Yu Darvish, RHP vs. Jake Arrieta, RHP

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Well, here we are.

The pitcher many Cubs fans wish the team had kept opposing the guy who they signed instead.

Yu Darvish’s last start was encouraging — 11 strikeouts, no walks, two earned runs in 5⅓ innings. Not great, but better.

He faced the Phillies twice in 2017, once with the Rangers, once with the Dodgers. He threw 12⅓ innings and allowed one earned run. The problem with citing that is that a lot of Phillies who played in those games aren’t on the team anymore. No current Phillie has more than five career AB against him, thus any sample size here is largely irrelevant.

All we can do is hope that the last outing is indicative of what’s to come for Yu, and that he follows Joe’s advice.

Jake Arrieta got off to a good start this year but his last four starts look Darvish-like: 6.14 ERA, 1.636 WHIP, four home runs in 22 innings.

The Cubs are the only team he has never faced. Thus there are only two Cubs who have ever batted against him (plus two pitchers who won’t play tonight): Daniel Descalso (0-for-10) and Jason Heyward (6-for-18). Jake has a lifetime ERA of 2.31 and a WHIP of 0.959 in 59 career starts at Wrigley Field, with just 21 home runs allowed in 378⅓ innings. Of course, all of those starts were in the blue pinstripes. Arrieta got a nice video tribute from the Cubs when the Phillies were at Wrigley last year, but obviously he didn’t pitch in that series. This experience will be different for him, I’m sure.

Maybe the Cubs are catching him in a rough patch and can hit him tonight.

Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Phillies market territories). MLB Network’s broadcast is a Showcase game, their own production. Announcers: Bob Costas, Joe Girardi and Heidi Watney. So, if you're watching that broadcast, let us know if Girardi has improved since Saturday.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Phillies site The Good Phight. If you do go there to interact with Phillies fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.

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.