Notes for Saturday:
- THE CLOCK IS TICKING: The Cubs need to win both Saturday and Sunday to avoid their first losing calendar month since May 2017, when they went 12-16. They are currently 13-14 in June.
- WHAT A RELIEF! Steve Cishek has posted a 2.10 ERA (six earned runs in 25⅔ innings) in his last 25 games since April 28, holding opponents to a .169 average (15-for-89) in that span. Brandon Kintzler has held opponents scoreless in his last 13⅔ innings since May 21. In those innings, he’s walked four, struck out 11 and limited the opposition to a .156 average (7-for-45), a .224 OBP and a .200 slugging mark.
- SCORING ALWAYS HELPS: The Cubs are 26-15 (.634) in games decided by three or more runs. That’s the fifth-best winning percentage in the majors in such games.
- THIS COULD BE HISTORIC: With 17 homers and 48 RBI thus far, Willson Contreras is on pace for 34 home runs and 95 RBI this season. Only one Cubs catcher has ever put up HR and RBI mumbers like those: Gabby Hartnett hit 37 homers and drove in 122 in 1930.
- HEY HEY AGAIN FOR J-HEY! Including a two-run homer last night, Jason Heyward is hitting .330 (33-for-100) with a .924 OPS in his last 29 games since May 28.
Here are today’s particulars.
Jose Quintana, LHP vs. Luis Castillo, RHP
With the addition (for now) of Adbert Alzolay and Tyler Chatwood to the rotation, the Cubs gave Jose Quintana an extra day of rest by moving Cole Hamels up to Friday’s game. That means Q hasn’t thrown in a week. Perhaps that will help him get back to his usual level of performance; his last six starts have just been bad (6.75 ERA, 1.728 WHIP).
One of those starts was May 26 at Wrigley Field against the Reds. He allowed 12 (!) hits in 5⅓ innings, along with six runs (five earned). That isn’t good and neither was his start at GABP May 16 (five innings, three runs). He’s just going to have to do better.
Luis Castillo was Q’s opponent in the May 16 game, and he threw 5⅓ innings and allowed just two hits (and two runs), striking out six. At the time he had a season ERA of 1.90. He’s been somewhat “worse” since then, but not terrible in six starts: 3.94 ERA. However, he’s allowed a ton of walks in those six outings: 24 in 29⅔ innings, and overall his walk rate is nearly double what it was last year (4.8 in 2019, 2.6 in 2018).
So, perhaps the Cubs can wait him out for walks, and hit pitches if Castillo can get them in the zone.
Today’s game is on ABC7 Chicago.
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.