N.L. Central teams within the division so far in 2019:
This division is going to be this way all year, I think. Even the Reds, though they might not finish over .500, are a better team than they were a year ago.
So the recipe for the Cubs winning the Central division appears to be: beat the teams outside it. They can start tonight with the Rockies.
Other Tuesday notes:
- Monday’s victory improved the Cubs’ home record to 19-10 (.655), the second-best home mark in the N.L. (Dodgers, 25-7/.781) and fifth-best in MLB.
- Draft-related note: The Cubs feature eight former first round selections on its active roster, including four of their own first-round selections: Javier Baez (2011), Albert Almora Jr. (2012), Kris Bryant (2013) and Kyle Schwarber (2014). The others: Cole Hamels (2002, Phillies), Jason Heyward (2007, Braves), Mike Montgomery (2008, Royals) and Addison Russell (2012, Athletics).
- New Cub Carlos Gonzalez saw a couple of familiar faces in the clubhouse when he arrived Monday: former Rockies teammates Tyler Chatwood (2012-14, 2016-17) and Daniel Descalso (2015-16).
- Since being recalled from Triple-A Iowa May 6, Carl Edwards Jr. is 1-0 with three holds and a 2.38 ERA (three earned runs in 11⅓ innings), with one walk, 12 strikeouts and holding opponents to a .108 BA (4-for-37) in 12 outings. If this CJ sticks around, many of the Cubs’ bullpen issues will be solved.
Here are today’s particulars.
Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. Jeff Hoffman, RHP
Kyle Hendricks had an excellent May, posting a 1.81 ERA and 0.739 WHIP in six starts, with just five walks and 37 strikeouts in 44⅔ innings. The Cubs won five of the six games, losing the other (against the Reds May 24) because of sketchy bullpen work.
Kyle continues to pitch much better at Wrigley Field (five starts, 1.29 ERA, 0.800 WHIP, one home run in 35 innings) than on the road (six starts, 4.89 ERA, 1.429 WHIP, five home runs in 35 innings), so that should be encouraging for tonight.
Kyle made two starts against the Rockies last year and posted a 4.26 ERA in 12⅔ innings with four home runs allowed. Current Rockies are hitting .301 (31-for-103) against Kyle with nine home runs. Kyle was also the losing pitcher in the 2018 wild-card game against Colorado.
But that was last year’s Hendricks, and as noted, Kyle’s been outstanding at home this year.
One member of the Rockies to watch tonight is former Cub Daniel Murphy, who is hitting .348/.412/.543 (16-for-46) over his last 13 games.
Jeff Hoffman, who was the Blue Jays’ No. 1 selection in 2014 (ninth overall — five picks after Kyle Schwarber), was traded to the Rockies in the Troy Tulowitzki deal the following year, and injuries have ruined most of his big-league career.
He started the year at Triple-A Albuquerque and got torched there (7.57 ERA in eight appearances, seven of them starts). During that time he made one start for the Rockies in April, which wasn’t very good. He was sent to back to Triple-A, returning in late May. Since then he has started twice for the Rox and both starts were pretty mediocre.
His most recent start against the Cubs was June 10, 2017 and he was pretty good that day, throwing 6⅓ innings and allowing just one run. No current Cub has more than six career at-bats against him. Kris Bryant is a small sample size 3-for-5 with two home runs.
Today’s game is on NBC Sports 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.