Notes for Tuesday:
- KNOW THE SCORE: The Cubs have scored seven or more runs in three of the first seven games of the homestand and 34 overall, averaging 4.9 runs in the seven games. That included a five-run inning, the 13th time this year the Cubs have scored at least five runs in an inning. They did so 16 times all of last year.
- EVERYONE DIGS THE LONG BALL: The Cubs have hit 122 home runs this season, a franchise mark for home runs in the season’s first half, breaking the previous record of 120, set in 2016. The 122 home runs rank tied for third with the Braves, behind only the Brewers (135) and Dodgers (128). The 122 HR are a pace for 253, which would break the franchise record of 235 set in 2004.
- WHAT A RELIEF THEY ARE: Steve Cishek has posted a 1.90 ERA (five earned runs in 23⅔ innings) in his last 23 games since April 28, holding opponents to a .169 average (14-for-83) in that span. For the season, his 82.2 mph opponent exit velocity on balls in play is second-lowest in the majors behind Kyle Crick (79.6 mph). Brandon Kintzler has held opponents scoreless in his last 11⅔ innings since May 21, and has started the season with 17 straight scoreless outings (17⅔ innings) at Wrigley Field.
- WILLSON, HOT: Willson Contreras has an eight game hitting streak: .400/.438./767 (12-for-30) with two doubles, three home runs and only four strikeouts. Willson’s .388 on-base percentage leads all qualifying catchers and his .949 OPS leads N.L. catchers.
- J-HEY HEY! Jason Heyward is hitting .333 (29-for-87) with a .912 OPS in his last 25 games since May 28, and his 11 home runs this season are his most since he hit 13 with the Cardinals in 2015. He’s on pace to have his most homers since he hit 27 with the Braves in 2012.
Here are today’s particulars.
Adbert Alzolay, RHP vs. Max Fried, LHP
Adbert Alzolay had a sensational MLB debut last Thursday, throwing four shutout innings before allowing a home run to Todd Frazier. He mixed his pitches well and showed good velocity. Really, what more could you ask for in your first big-league game?
He’s obviously never faced the Braves or anyone on their active roster. You know how this sometimes works when the Cubs face a guy like that. Hopefully it works in the Cubs’ favor tonight.
Max Fried retired the first 17 Cubs he faced April 4 in Atlanta before a single broke up his perfect-game bid.
I’m not going to post here who got the hit. Go click on the link and look it up. You’ll laugh.
Fried’s last eight starts have not been as good: 5.85 ERA, 1.670 WHIP, five home runs in 32⅓ innings. Current Cubs, though, are 1-for-28 against him (and the one hit is not by the guy who broke up the perfect game — again, go look it up).
Fried has talent, but he seems to be the kind of guy the Cubs can hit, despite the previous small sample size results.
Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago Plus.
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.