Notes for today:
- What’s so great about Bryce Harper? He’s 0-for-8 with a walk and two strikeouts in this series. On the other hand, he has a .489 OBP in 88 PA at Wrigley Field, though a lot of that is from the 13 walks the Cubs gave him in that four-game series in 2016. In games at Wrigley other than that series, his OBP is .391. (Still good, though.)
- Through 23 home dates this year, the Cubs have announced 830,630 tickets sold. That’s 36,114 per date. There are five dates remaining on this homestand. The Cubs need to average 33,874 per date to pass the one million mark, which they should do. We should have some ticket pricing data sometime after this homestand is over.
- The Cubs’ +59 run differential translates to a Pythagorean record of 29-17 and the differential is second-best in the N.L. (Dodgers, +69) and fourth-best in MLB (Twins, +81 and Astros, +99). The Cubs will be at Houston for a three-game series beginning Monday.
- The Cubs are 12-11 this month with a run differential of +27 and are, after the walkoff win Tuesday, 9-6 in one-run games.
- Javier Baez’ walkoff hit Tuesday gave him a .357/.395/.571 (20-for-70) mark in the month of May, with nine doubles and two home runs.
Here are today’s particulars.
Cole Hamels, LHP vs. Cole Irvin, LHP
According to this article, tonight is the first Cole vs. Cole (first name) matchup in major-league history.
Cole Hamels has never faced his former team, the Phillies, so this will be an unusual situation for him. He does have some history against some of their current players, particularly Bryce Harper (8-for-34, eight strikeouts) and Andrew McCutchen (8-for-27, a home run). But the unfamiliarity with their hitters could be to his advantage.
He’s been pretty consistent all year. Last five starts: 3.45 ERA, 1.081 WHIP. You will almost certainly see six quality innings, at least, from Hamels tonight.
Cole Irvin is making his third major-league start. He was a senior sign, having been drafted in the 32nd round in 2015. He went back to the University of Oregon and the Phillies took him in the fifth round in 2016, and he had pretty good results in their system, although he ranked only 16th on their preseason Top 30 prospects list.
The two starts have been pretty good: 2.77 ERA, 0.923 WHIP, though of course that’s an extremely small sample size of only 13 innings. He looks like he relies mostly on offspeed stuff, based on this pitch split list from Fangraphs.
He has obviously never faced the Cubs or anyone on their current roster, not even in the minors, as no Cubs affiliate is in any league with any Phillies affiliate.
Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Phillies 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.