With a victory this afternoon, the Cubs would take their first road series since May 17-19 at Washington. That’d be nice.
- COMEDY CENTRAL: Every team in the National League Central has a losing record on the road and every N.L. Central team but Pittsburgh has a winning record at home. Also, the Pirates and Cubs are the only Central teams with winning records since June 18: Pirates 7-2, Cubs 6-5, Reds 4-5, Brewers 4-6, Cardinals 3-6.
- THE MONTHLY BILL: At 14-14 in June, the Cubs need to win today to avoid their first sub-.500 month since going 12-16 in May 2017. The has a stretch of 12 consecutive winning months in the regular season dating to June 2017. Only once in franchise history has the team had a longer stretch of consecutive winning months, and that was 38 straight months from May 1905 through July 1911. The Cubs team went 658-308 during that stretch. (H/T: Ed Hartig)
- THE HEYWARD FILE: Including home runs in each of the first two games this series, Jason Heyward is hitting .330/.378/.573 (34-for-103) in his last 30 games since May 28. His 13 home runs this season are already his most in a season as a Cub and most overall since hitting 13 homers with St. Louis in 2015. J-Hey has an .821 OPS this season, which would represent his best full-season OPS since an .849 mark in his rookie year of 2010.
- EVERYONE LOVES THE LONG BALL: The Cubs have hit 129 home runs this season, a franchise record for home runs in the season’s first half. The previous mark was set in 2016 with 120 homers entering the All-Star break. The 129 home runs rank fourth in the N.L. behind the Brewers (140), Dodgers (139) and Braves (131).
Here are today’s particulars.
Jon Lester, LHP vs. Anthony DeSclafani, RHP
Just when you think Jon Lester might have lost it, he turns in a fine performance like his outing last Monday against the Braves.
Jon has not faced the Reds this year. He has 16 career starts against them with a 3.88 ERA and 1.058 WHIP, and those numbers are slightly better at GABP: seven starts, 3.38 ERA, 0.926 WHIP. Despite GABP’s reputation as a launching pad, Jon has allowed just five home runs in 45⅔ innings there. Current Reds are hitting .291 (48-for-165) against him, much of the damage coming from Jose Peraza (12-for-29, .414) and Eugenio Suarez (10-for-34, three home runs).
The Cubs hit Anthony DeSclafani pretty well May 24 at Wrigley Field: four runs in 3⅔ innings, including home runs by Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant. I’ll take another one of those, please.
Since that outing DeSclafani put together four nice starts in a row and then he got pounded June 23 by the Brewers (eight hits, six runs in 4⅓ innings). Current Cubs are hitting .265 (31-for-117) against him with seven home runs, two of those by Rizzo.
Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago. 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.