It’s going to be extremely hot at the ballyard today, with temperatures expected in the mid to upper 90s. Stay hydrated if you’re going.
- Kris Bryant hit his 20th homer Wednesday. That gave the Cubs three players (also Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber) with 20 or more home runs. The other teams that have done that so far: Braves, Rockies, Dodgers, Padres.
- In 27 games since June 14, KB is hitting .366/.448/.634 (37-for-101) with nine doubles and six home runs. He’s currently on pace to set career highs in BA, SLG and OPS.
- Jason Heyward in 23 games since June 18: .345/.382/.619 (29-for-84) with six doubles, a triple and five home runs. He has already hit 15 home runs this year. He’s hit more just twice — 18 in his rookie year (2010) and 27 in 2012, and his .470 SLG is getting close to his career high, .479, also from 2012.
- Anthony Rizzo has a 17-game on-base streak in which he’s hitting .339/.440/.500 (21-for-62) with eight doubles and a triple — oddly, no home runs. Rizzo has 108 plate appearances since his last home run, which was in the ninth inning June 15 at Dodger Stadium. He hasn’t gone deep at home since the third inning May 24, a span of 103 plate appearances at Wrigley Field.
- Kyle Ryan has quietly turned himself into a pretty reliable reliever. Over his last 17 appearances covering 14 innings since June 5, he has given up just one run (0.64 ERA) and has a 1.143 WHIP and .226 opponents BA, with no home runs allowed.
Here are today’s particulars.
Jon Lester, LHP vs. Eric Lauer, LHP
Jon Lester seems to be getting back in a groove. Last four starts: 2.55 ERA, 1.176 WHIP. The Cubs have won three of those four games.
Last year against the Padres: well, maybe you should avert your eyes... 6.97 ERA, 1.839 WHIP, three home runs in 10⅓ innings over two starts. One of those starts was July 15, 2018 in San Diego against Eric Lauer, who the Cubs hit pretty hard (five runs in two innings). That’s Lauer’s only career start against the Cubs.
Lauer has pitched better this year and in fact, has been solid over his last nine starts: 2.66 ERA, 1.184 WHIP, only three home runs allowed in 50⅓ innings.
The hot weather today might mean extra work for both bullpens in this game.
Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Padres 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.