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Chicago Cubs vs. San Francisco Giants preview, Tuesday 8/20, 7:05 CT

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The Cubs go for their third straight win.

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Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs begin tonight’s action half a game behind the Cardinals, who defeated the Brewers Monday. The best scenario for tonight, then, would be for the Cubs to defeat the Giants and the Brewers to beat the Cardinals. That would put the Cubs back in first place and keep them 2½ games ahead of Milwaukee.

This homestand features Joe Maddon’s annual “American Legion Week,” where players are asked to show up later at the ballpark and just play the game, as they did when they were teenagers and would have played American Legion ball or something similar:

“I want it to be reminiscent of when we played as kids,” said Maddon, who started the late August tradition with his Rays teams more than 10 years ago. “And you didn’t show up so early and take 100 swings in the cage and another 50 on the field or pore over information and data.

“And you know what? We played well. Sometimes I think the stuff is overdone. I really believe in a fresh mind and body this time of the year.”

Maddon has done this with a mid-to-late August homestand each of his years with the team. Previous results:

2015: 5-2
2016: 8-2
2017: 5-2
2018: 6-1

Looks like this idea works. Here’s hoping for a 5-1 or maybe even 6-0 homestand.

Notes:

  • Cubs starting pitchers have posted a 0.33 ERA (one earned run in 27 innings) in the team’s last four games, allowing six walks, striking out 21 and posting a .168 batting average against (16-for-95) and a .454 opponent OPS.
  • Cubs rookie reliever Rowan Wick has posted a 1.69 ERA (two earned runs in 10⅔ innings) with two wins, a save and two holds in his last 11 games since he was recalled from Triple-A Iowa on July 22. He’s walked three and struck out 14 in that span, holding opponents to a .143 average (5-for-35) and a .353 OPS while recording a WHIP of 0.750.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Giants lineup:

Cole Hamels, LHP vs. Tyler Beede, RHP

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Play along with me here, if you don’t mind.

We’re just going to forget Cole Hamels’ last outing ever happened.

Oh, sure, the numbers count, but I am not mentioning it again. Ever.

Cole has been a bit shaky since his return from the injured list. Perhaps the off day, giving him an extra day of rest, will help.

Hamels hasn’t faced the Giants in almost four years, and there are a lot of new guys on the team since then — since last year, in fact. Thus only two current Giants have more than a handful of at-bats against him. One of those is Buster Posey, who has absolutely demolished Hamels offerings in his career: .542 (13-for-24), four doubles, two home runs. That accounts for exactly half the hits all current Giants have off Hamels. So, stop Posey, stop the Giants tonight.

The Cubs hit Tyler Beede pretty hard July 24 in San Francisco: 5⅔ innings, 10 hits, four runs, including home runs by Kris Bryant and Javier Baez.

More encouraging for Cubs bats tonight is Beede’s record after that game. Last four starts: 9.17 ERA, 2.038 (!) WHIP, five home runs in 17⅔ innings. Yikes, that’s bad.

Beede was the Giants’ No. 1 pick (14th overall) in 2014 out of a highly-regarded college program at Vanderbilt. He’s surely not pitching like a No. 1 pick.

Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago Plus. 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.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

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.