The news about the activation of Willson Contreras and demotion of Addison Russell is posted here.
Instead of game notes today, let me tell you a story about a good team that struggled for the first part of a recent baseball season.
In and out of first place early, they went back into the top spot in late June, but barely hung on, a game or two ahead.
Suddenly, in late July, after dropping to just a couple games over .500, they started winning.
I could be describing the 2019 Chicago Cubs, but I’m sure you can tell this isn’t about them. This also describes the 2017 Cleveland Indians, who — you might remember — were in the World Series the previous year.
Starting July 21, they won nine in a row, then lost seven of 10. After that they won six straight, lost four of seven... and then won 22 consecutive games, on their way to a 102-win season.
There was absolutely nothing in the 2017 Indians’ record prior to just about this point in the season to indicate they’d go on a 54-15 run to end that year. But they did.
And they did it without making a single major trade deadline move. The only deal they made at the July 31 deadline was acquiring Joe Smith — the same Joe Smith who was pretty bad for the Cubs the previous year. They made one waiver acquisition in August, picking up Jay Bruce August 9, but otherwise the team they had put together was the one that did all that winning.
Now, obviously every year is different and every team is different and I am not suggesting this year’s Cubs are suddenly going to go on a 22-game winning streak (though that certainly would be nice). But I believe the 2019 Chicago Cubs have the talent to go on a winning run, maybe not what the Indians did two years ago, but enough to win the N.L. Central. They probably need to add a bat and a relief arm, and there’s a week left to do that.
So if you’re on the ledge, come on back in. There’s plenty of time left for the Cubs to do good things this season.
Here are today’s particulars.
Tyler Chatwood, RHP vs. Tyler Beede, RHP
Well, this was unexpected:
Jon Lester is ill. Chatwood starting— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) July 24, 2019
And now we know, possibly, why Tyler Chatwood was being held back Tuesday night.
With this last minute change, I don't have a lot to say about Chatwood. His last start vs. the Giants was May 27, 2018 and it did not go well. Perhaps today, on short notice, he won't have time to overthink things and it will go well.
Tyler Beede is making his 13th major-league start (15th appearance) this afternoon. He got off to a horrendous start this year (8.06 ERA on June 11) but his last six starts have been pretty good: 2.68 ERA, 1.054 WHIP, .199 opponents batting average. In his last outing, July 19 against the Mets, he threw eight shutout innings.
He has never faced the Cubs. The only current Cub with a plate appearance against him is Daniel Descalso (0-for-1). Per Fangraphs, he’s throwing mostly fastballs and changeups this year, with an average FB velocity of 94.6.
Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Giants market territories). If you have “cut the cord,” NBC Sports Chicago games can be streamed in the Cubs’ market territory via Fubo. Sign up for Fubo here.
SB Nation game preview
Please visit our SB Nation Giants site McCovey Chronicles. If you do go there to interact with Giants fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.
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.