Notes for a Wednesday afternoon game:
- The Cubs today are looking to avoid losing a sixth straight road game for the second time this season (March 30-April 5). The Cubs have now lost at least five games in a row on the road twice within the same season for the first time since 2014 (three times).
- The 2019 season is the first time in franchise history that the Cubs have had six players reach double digits in home runs before the middle of June. The previous fastest calendar date where the Cubs had six players with 10 or more home runs was June 29, 2004.
- Since making his debut with the Cubs last August 1, Cole Hamels has gone 9-5 with a 2.81 ERA (48 earned runs in 154 innings) over 25 starts. In that time frame, Hamels has the lowest ERA of any left-handed pitcher and the fifth-lowest ERA of any pitcher in MLB (minimum 140 innings pitched), trailing only Jacob deGrom (2.45 ERA), Walker Buehler (2.51 ERA), Justin Verlander (2.66 ERA) and Kyle Hendricks (2.77 ERA).
- More Hamels: Cole enters today’s start 11 strikeouts short of becoming the 38th pitcher in major league history to reach 2,500 career strikeouts. When he gets to that milestone, he will become only the 10th southpaw to ever reach the milestone, joining Randy Johnson, Steve Carlton, CC Sabathia, Mickey Lolich, Frank Tanana, Chuck Finley, Tom Glavine, Warren Spahn and Jerry Koosman. Even more on Hamels below.
- The Cubs have hit 45 home runs in their last 25 games starting May 17, tied with the Mets for the most home runs by any club in the National League in that span and trailing only the Minnesota Twins (47 homers) for most in MLB.
Here are today’s particulars.
No lineup tweet from the Rockies at posting time, so you get it from one of their beat writers.
Cole Hamels, LHP vs. Antonio Senzatela, RHP
After a bit of a rough patch, Cole Hamels’ last two starts have been outstanding: 15 innnings, 0.533 WHIP, one unearned run, 14 strikeouts. He did not face the Rockies in the series at Wrigley last week, and has not pitched in Coors Field since August 8, 2016, where he turned in a solid six-inning outing (two runs, six strikeouts).
In fact, in his career Cole has a 3.79 ERA and 1.263 WHIP in six starts in Coors Field, which is pretty good. The only Rockies hitter with any real career success against him is Daniel Murphy (18-for-56, .321, four doubles, one home run).
Jim Deshaies mentioned on the broadcast Tuesday that the Cubs need a “stopper.” That’s an old-school term for a starter who can stop a losing skid. Hamels appears to be just what the Cubs need today.
Antonio Senzatela got off to a horrid start this year, but his last three outings have been pretty good: 2.00 ERA, 1.333 WHIP in 18 innings. He has faced the Cubs three times in his career, last on April 20, 2018, a two-inning relief appearance. Very small sample size alert: Current Cubs are hitting .325 (13-for-40) against him, though no Cub has more than seven career at-bats against him.
Hopefully those Cubs bats wake up this afternoon.
Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Rockies 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.