- SAVING THE DAY: Craig Kimbrel’s first Cubs save Thursday was the 334th of his big-league career. He’s the active leader in that category and ranks 14th all-time. Next up on the all-time list: Rollie Fingers (341) and former Cub Randy Myers (347). He won’t get to 40+ saves this year, but he has five 40-plus save seasons in his career. Only three pitchers in MLB history have more such seasons: Francisco Rodriguez (six), Trevor Hoffman (nine) and Mariano Rivera (nine).
- COMING FROM BEHIND: Thursday, the Cubs recorded their largest come-from-behind win since July 26 of last season vs. the Diamondbacks (down 6-1, won 7-6). Anthony Rizzo won that game with a walkoff homer moments after David Bote had tied it with a two-run shot.
- HEY HEY J-HEY! Jason Heyward is batting .524/.524/.905 (11-for-21) with three doubles, a triple, a home run and five RBI in his last six games, including four multi-hit games. The triple Thursday was his third of 2019 and 33rd of his career.
- HEY NOW, YOU’RE AN ALL-STAR: Javier Baez has a five-game hitting streak and over his last nine games is hitting .323/.382/.645 (10-for-31) with two doubles, a triple and two home runs (and only six strikeouts).
- HEY NOW, YOU’RE AN ALL-STAR, PART DEUX: Willson Contreras has a 10-game hitting streak in which he’s hitting .417/.475/.889 (15-for-36) with three doubles, a triple, four home runs and 13 RBI.
Here are today’s particulars.
Cole Hamels, LHP vs. Sonny Gray, RHP
Cole Hamels has had a tremendous June: five starts, 1.00 ERA, 0.889 WHIP, 36 strikeouts in 36 innings. He should be in the running for National League Pitcher of the Month.
He has not faced the Reds this year, and in two starts against them last year he posted a 1.72 ERA and 1.277 WHIP. Current Reds are hitting .235 (23-for-98) against him.
Sounds like a recipe for another good game from Cole.
Conversely to Hamels, June has been the worst month of Sonny Gray’s 2019 season: 5.40 ERA, 1.450 WHIP in four starts. He has made one start against the Cubs this year, May 15 in Cincinnati, and allowed three runs in five innings, including home runs by Addison Russell and Albert Almora Jr. The Cubs bullpen blew a ninth-inning lead in that one, hopefully that situation (“blown ninth-inning lead”) has been addressed.
No current Cub has more than eight career at-bats vs. Gray.
Today’s game is on WGN. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Reds 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.