- Monday night, Anthony Rizzo hit the 200th homer of his career, and his 199th as a Cub. In doing so, he became the 21st player ever to hit his 200th career homer in a Cubs uniform, and the first since Aramis Ramirez did so, April 23, 2007, vs. Milwaukee. Rizzo’s 199 home runs as a Cub are ninth-most in franchise history, six behind Bill Nicholson for eighth place.
- More Rizzo: He has homered in five of his last eight games, and in his last 15 games, he has 13 extra-base hits, batted .351 (20-for-57) with a 1.256 OPS, driven in 17 runs and walked more than he’s struck out (6 walks, 5 strikeouts).
- Even more Rizzo: enters tonight having gone 27 straight plate appearances without striking out, the second-longest current streak in the N.L. behind former teammate Starlin Castro (28 PA).
- Kris Bryant homered for the second straight game Monday and for the fourth time in his last nine contests. Also, KB has reached safely in 16 straight games since April 17. During those 16 games he has a .431 OBP, with more walks (14) than strikeouts (11), and a 1.031 OPS. Bryant has walked in six-straight games, the longest current streak in the majors.
- Javier Baez last night doubled to give him 23 extra-base hits this season, tops in the majors, one ahead of both Cody Bellinger and Paul DeJong. Javy’s 23 extra-base hits are tied for the most in the Cubs’ first 32 games of a season (since 1908) with the following players: Hack Wilson in 1926, Rogers Hornsby in 1931 and Billy Herman in 1936. Wilson had 24 extra-base hits through the first 33 team games in 1926, also Vic Saier in 1915, so Javy has a chance to tie or surpass that tonight. Lastly, Baez is the only Cub with at least 11 doubles and 11 homers in the team’s first 32 games.
Here are today’s particulars.
#Marlins lineup for tonight’s game vs. #Cubs:— Wells Dusenbury (@DuseReport) May 7, 2019
1) Curtis Granderson (LF)
2) Martin Prado (1B)
3) Brian Anderson (RF)
4) Jorge Alfaro (C)
5) Starlin Castro (2B)
6) Miguel Rojas (SS)
7) Jon Berti (3B)
8) Isaac Galloway (CF)
9) Caleb Smith (P)
Jon Lester, LHP vs. Caleb Smith, LHP
Jon Lester, who was off to a good start to 2019, spent some time on the injured list with a hamstring tweak and came back and got even better. Two starts since returning: 0.75 ERA, 0.500 WHIP, 13 strikeouts in 12 innings.
Most of these young Marlins have not seen Jon much. The only Marlin with significant AB vs. Lester is Curtis Granderson (15-for-51, three home runs), but a lot of that was years ago when Jon was a Red Sox hurler and Granderson was with the Yankees.
You might remember Caleb Smith from his time with the Cubs as a Rule 5 pick in spring training 2017. The Cubs decided not to keep him and returned him to the Yankees, who traded him to the Marlins for a minor leaguer and international slot money.
Smith has turned himself into a pretty good pitcher, about the only one on the Marlins staff who’s doing well this year. All six of his starts have been decent-to-good and in his last four: 1.08 ERA, 0.760 WHIP, 30 strikeouts in 25 innings.
Smith, if he keeps this up, will almost certainly be the Marlins’ All-Star representative. This will be a tough game for the Cubs. If Lester can keep things pretty even through the middle innings, perhaps the Cubs can win it off Miami’s bullpen.
Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago Plus. If you have “cut the cord,” NBC Sports Chicago games can be streamed in the Cubs’ market territory via Fubo. Sign up for Fubo here. This game is also being carried by streaming service ESPN+ — sign up for ESPN+ here. ESPN+ games are blacked out in the participating teams’ home markets.
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.