Notes for Saturday:
- TAKING ATTENDANCE: Friday’s crowd of 39,106 pushed the Cubs past the three million mark in announced attendance, with the total now 3,016,188. Saturday’s and Sunday’s games are expected to be sellouts, but that will leave the Cubs a bit short of 3.1 million. That will be down about 80,000 from 2018, or nearly 1,000 per game.
- THE DOUBLES MACHINE: Nicholas Castellanos, last eight games: .387/.472/.742 (12-for-31) with eight doubles and a home run. His 57th double Friday made him the 13th player in MLB history to have that many in a season, and the first since Carlos Delgado (57) and Todd Helton (59), both in 2000. His 20 doubles as a Cub match Jason Heyward for fifth on the team... and Heyward has played 96 more games in a Cubs uniform this year than Castellanos.
- WARBIRD: Kyle Schwarber, last six games: .455/.480/.909 (10-for-22) with two doubles, a triple, two home runs and nine RBI.
- ONE MORE HOMER: With one more home run, Willson Contreras would have the third-best home-run season by any Cubs catcher. His total of 24 so far in 2019 matches Jody Davis (1983) and Gabby Hartnett (1925). The only Cubs catchers with more: Rick Wilkins (30 in 1993) and Hartnett (37 in 1930).
Here are today’s particulars.
Jose Quintana, LHP vs. Dakota Hudson, RHP
Jose Quintana’s start got pushed back a day when Cole Hamels was scratched from this start. Hopefully the extra day of rest will help Jose, who has been just plain bad this month: 11.32 ERA, 2.226 WHIP. Yikes. He hasn’t made it past the fifth inning in any of his three September starts and has been pounded by two bad teams (Padres, Pirates).
About the only thing that gives me hope for him today is his start vs. the Cardinals at Wrigley May 5, when he threw six innings and allowed two runs.
It’s time for Jose to step up, plain and simple.
Dakota Hudson is having a solid first full year in the Cardinals rotation (he was exclusively a reliever in 2018).
It’s going well for him, and especially over his last seven starts: 1.59 ERA, 0.904 WHIP in 45⅓ innings.
Hudson’s one issue is a fairly high walk rate: 4.2 per nine innings. Even with the good WHIP over those last seven starts, he’s walked 20. Perhaps the Cubs can exercise some patience.
He has not faced the Cubs this year. He made two relief appearances against them in 2018, which tells us little. Cubs hitters will simply have to rely on good scouting reports.
Today’s game is on WGN. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Cardinals market territories).
Today is the last game WGN-TV will televise from Wrigley Field. Before the game, to commemorate the 72-season partnership, the Cubs will present WGN-TV with a Wrigley Field scoreboard tile with the number 9 on one side and the lyrics to “Go Cubs Go” etched on the other. And, a group of the longest-tenured members of the WGN-TV broadcast crew will gather on the field for the first pitch and WGN-TV station members will lead the crowd in singing the seventh-inning stretch.
WGN-TV’s final Cubs broadcast will be next Friday, September 27 from St. Louis. I will have a five-part series here honoring the 72 seasons of WGN-TV carrying Cubs games beginning Monday, September 23.
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.