Notes for Friday:
- STREAKING: The Cubs are 12-5 over their last 17 games. That’s the third-best record in the National League over that span. Unfortunately, the second-best is the Cardinals at 15-5.
- ROAD WARRIORS: The Cubs enter tonight having won their last six road games since August 17, the team’s longest road winning streak since a nine-game run, July 2-27, 2017, at Cincinnati (1-0), Baltimore (3-0), Atlanta (3-0) and the White Sox (2-0).
- CENTRALLY LOCATED: Cole Hamels has posted a 2.09 ERA (10 earned runs in 43 innings) in eight starts against N.L. Central opponents this season. That’s the lowest ERA for any pitcher with at least 40 innings against N.L. Central teams this season. More on Hamels below.
- WILLY THE BEAST: Willson Contreras has homered in each of his two games since returning from the injured list. Thursday night he hit his 21st home run of the season, tying his career high set in 2017. Since he homered on the first pitch of his major league career, June 19, 2016, Contreras’ 64 home runs rank third among N.L. catchers, surpassed only by Yasmani Grandal (91) and J.T. Realmuto (67).
- STREAKING, PART 2: Ben Zobrist has walked in seven straight games dating back to April 28, the longest current streak in the majors.
Here are today’s particulars.
Javy’s still out. But this lineup with Ben Zobrist leading off is doing pretty well, I’d say. Why mess with success?
Cole Hamels, LHP vs. Zach Davies, RHP
Here we have another pitching rematch, this one of the game last Saturday at Wrigley Field.
Cole Hamels threw six solid innings, allowing two runs, striking out seven. That’d be good enough to win most times.
Unfortunately, the Cubs couldn’t do anything with Zach Davies (4⅔ innings, 77 pitches) or four Brewers relievers, and they got shut out.
This is in stark contrast to Davies’ previous start vs. the Cubs, July 26 at Miller Park, when they torched him for seven runs in five innings. Kyle Schwarber homered twice off Davies that day.
Davies, in fact, has been much worse at home (12 starts, 4.95 ERA, 12 home runs in 60 innings) than on the road (14 starts, 2.83 ERA, seven home runs in 76⅓ innings). Also, Davies has not thrown more than five innings in any of his last six starts. Game plan, then: Hit him early and often.
As for Hamels, he seems to have gotten back on track, finally, from the oblique injury. Last three starts: 3.71 ERA, 1.353 WHIP, 15 strikeouts in 17 innings. The extra day of rest via Wednesday’s off day should help him.
Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago.
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.