A little essay this morning instead of the usual notes.
Despite all the troubles this team has had — injuries to three members of the starting rotation, a bench that’s been almost completely unproductive, no real lockdown closer until the last couple of weeks, probably more things you can think of — they will enter the All-Star break in first place with a win Sunday afternoon.
The Cubs’ current 47-42 record underperforms the team’s Pythagorean record by three games. By the current runs-scored total of 454 and runs-allowed count of 397, the Cubs should have a .567 winning percentage, which would translate to a 50-39 mark. A .567 winning percentage for the season would be a 92-win season, and in 2019 that might just be enough to win the N.L. Central.
It would take a 45-28 record from here through season’s end to get to 92 wins, and I think this team is capable of that... or, perhaps, a bit better. It should be noted (okay, one note for today!) that the Cubs under Joe Maddon after the All-Star break are 189-103, a .647 winning percentage. If the Cubs win today and play .647 ball over the remaining 72 games, that would be 47-25 over the rest of the season, and a 95-win season. You’d take that, right?
The team’s 454 runs and 5.1 runs per game are both good for fifth in the National League, and so are the 397 runs allowed (and the latter figure is just two runs behind fourth place).
So I think we should all stop worrying so much and enjoy this Cubs team. To me, they feel like they’re about to break out into a long winning streak, even while Theo & Co. seek upgrades in the 24 days remaining before the new single trade deadline, July 31.
Fasten your seat belts, it should be a fun second half.
Here are today’s particulars.
White Sox lineup:
Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. Ivan Nova, RHP
Kyle Hendricks was on the injured list when the Cubs faced the Sox last month. He returned to action last Tuesday, threw three decent innings, then departed when the game was delayed by rain having thrown just 55 pitches. Thus I’d expect him to be able to go a bit deeper into today’s game.
The last time Kyle faced the Sox was September 23, 2018, and he threw 7⅔ strong innings, allowing just four hits and one run. I’ll take another one of those, please.
Ivan Nova has alternated some good starts with some bad ones, and one of the good ones was June 18 at Wrigley Field. He allowed just one run in five innings, a solo homer by Kyle Schwarber.
Since that start Nova has thrown 12 innings in two starts, allowed nine runs (seven earned) with four home runs given up. That’s the Nova I remember from his time with the Pirates. Hopefully the Cubs can take advantage of that today.
Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago. It’s also on WGN with the Sox announcers.
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.