Notes for Wednesday:
- BEGINNINGS: Adbert Alzolay is the third pitcher in MLB since 1920 to toss at least four innings and allow one or fewer hits in each of his first two career appearances. The others: Eric King of the Tigers in 1986 and Von McDaniel of the Cardinals (1957). (H/T: STATS Inc.)
- WHO’S HOT: Willson Contreras is on a nine-game hitting streak. In the streak, he’s hitting .394/.444/.758 (13-for-33) with three doubles, three home runs and four multi-hit games.
- CLOSE CALLS: Through Tuesday, the Cubs have played 39 games decided by two or fewer runs, going 17-22 in those contests. The 39 such games are tied for fourth-most in the N.L.
- STREAKING: Kris Bryant has reached base safely in 22 straight games dating to June 2. Combined with his 26-straight games reaching safely earlier this season (April 17-May 17), Bryant is just the fifth Cub since 1990 to record multiple 20-game streaks reaching base safely in the same season. The others: Derrek Lee (2009), Mark Grace (four times, last in 1997), Ryne Sandberg (1993) and Andre Dawson (1990).
- IT COULD MATTER, LATER: By losing Tuesday, the Cubs have lost the regular-season series to the Braves (first time since 2014). This might matter for home field if the two clubs are postseason opponents.
Here are today’s particulars.
Yu Darvish, RHP vs. Dallas Keuchel, RHP
Just when you think Yu Darvish has broken out into the consistent pitcher we hoped he’d become, he has another mediocre outing like his one against the Mets last Friday.
In his previous start against the Braves this year, April 4 in Atlanta, he allowed five hits, four walks and three runs in four innings. That’s... not good.
I’m not even sure what to say about Darvish anymore. I keep hoping, as I’m sure you do, that he’ll turn the corner. There have just been too many corners. Maybe tonight.
Also, if Darvish records another no-decision tonight, that will make 11 straight starts for him without one. That will be a new major-league record if it happens (excluding “openers” from the last couple of seasons). Hopefully this game will be a win both for the team and for Yu.
You are, I’m sure, familiar with Dallas Keuchel’s story. He went to free agency after 2018, and like new Cub Craig Kimbrel, went unsigned until after the draft. The Braves gave him a one-year deal, had him make two rehab starts and then put him in their rotation. His one MLB start this year, last Friday in Washington, wasn’t too good: five innings, eight hits, four runs (three earned).
He has not faced the Cubs since 2013, and I include this boxscore mainly for amusement value. Anthony Rizzo homered off him that afternoon. Rizzo (2-for-5) and Daniel Descalso (0-for-2, what a surprise) are the only Cubs who have ever faced him.
This ought to be interesting.
Today’s game is on WGN. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Braves market territories).
SB Nation game preview
Please visit our SB Nation Braves site Talking Chop. If you do go there to interact with Braves fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.
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.