Notes for Memorial Day:
- The Cubs enter Memorial Day with a 1½-game lead in the N.L. Central, the fourth time in the last 17 seasons they have been atop the division heading into this holiday. The Cubs led the division entering Memorial Day 2003 (2½-game lead over St. Louis and Houston), were tied with St. Louis for the lead in 2008 and had a 6½-game lead over Pittsburgh heading into Memorial Day 2016.
- With 40 RBI on the season, Anthony Rizzo is just the third Cub in the last 15 seasons to reach 40 RBI prior to Memorial Day. Derrek Lee had 46 RBI prior to Memorial Day 2005 and Javier Baez last year had 42 RBI heading into the holiday.
- The Cubs are 4-3 in interleague play heading into this series and after it, they will have played half their interleague games for 2019. Since the start of 2015, the Cubs are 54-33 (.621) in interleague play, the best record among all N.L. clubs and third in the majors behind the Red Sox (61-24/.718) and Astros (55-25/.688).
- Despite losing the series over the weekend to the Reds, the Cubs are 27-13 (.692) in their last 40 games starting April 11, tied for the best record in the N.L. with the Dodgers, and tied for third in the majors behind the Yankees (29-11/.725) and Twins (30-12/.714).
- The Cubs have hit 13 homers in their last five games, hitting at least two in each of those contests. Their 82 home runs rank second in the N.L. behind the Brewers (89).
- Happy birthday to Cubs radio play-by-play man Pat Hughes!
Here are today’s particulars.
Insert “other split squad” joke here. Both Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward are being rested after Sunday’s collision:
Heyward (hip sore) and Bryant not in the lineup after collision yesterday. Adduci starts in RF. Bryant still under evaluation. No stated diagnosis yet.— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) May 27, 2019
New outfielder Jim Adduci will wear uniform No. 33.
Cole Hamels, LHP vs. Gerrit Cole, RHP
Cole Hamels has had a pretty good year, but he struggled in his last start against the Phillies.
He’s also got quite a bit of history against the Astros, having been in their division for almost three years. He made four starts against them last year, posting a 3.60 ERA and 1.200 WHIP, which is... pretty close to his career averages. He’s made nine career starts in MMP, where he has posted a 3.65 ERA and 1.235 WHIP, again... pretty close to his career norms.
The good news is that current members of the Astros are hitting just .186 (29-for-156) against him, though with seven home runs. Three of those homers are by George Springer, but Springer just hit the injured list, so at least Hamels won’t have to worry about that.
And thus the lesson for Cole today is “Keep the ball in the yard.” Do that and this should be a successful start for him.
Gerrit Cole. Remember this?
Gerrit Cole on the Cubs: "I don't really think they're the best team in baseball."— Travis Sawchik (@Travis_Sawchik) May 15, 2016
Turns out they were, that year!
Anyway, Cole has had an up-and-down 2019 so far. He’s had some really good outings, but also two in which he’s allowed at least six runs. He’s served up 11 home run balls, and the White Sox pounded him in his last start.
The last time he faced the Cubs was September 6, 2017 in Pittsburgh. He threw eight shutout innings that night. Current Cubs are hitting .215 (29-for-135) against Cole with just one home run (Javier Baez).
Sounds like we could have a nice pitchers’ duel on our hands this afternoon.
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.