As you know, I had been somewhat skeptical and with a lack of enthusiasm about MLB’s attempt to pull off an abbreviated 60-game season in 2020. The novel coronavirus pandemic is still an active, large problem in many parts of the USA, to the point that the Toronto Blue Jays weren’t to be allowed to play their games in Toronto because the Canadian government didn’t want teams from the US traveling there. (The Jays have found a home in Buffalo, site of their Triple-A afflilate.)
It’s still uncertain whether MLB will be able to complete this season. I will say that it appears the league and teams are taking the virus protocols seriously, in an attempt to limit exposure and keep everyone healthy. If they can continue to do so, perhaps we can have this mini-season as scheduled. They are going to have to keep a close eye on things and be willing to shut it down if cases of the virus spike in certain areas, or among certain ballclubs.
My enthusiasm level has increased. Kyle Hendricks’ outstanding pitching performance Friday night helped. It’s a way for us to feel some sort of normalcy back in our lives.
Here are today’s particulars.
Jason Kipnis makes his Cubs debut.
Yu Darvish, RHP vs. Corbin Burnes, RHP
Yu Darvish served up a grand slam to Eloy Jimenez of the White Sox in his “summer camp” outing Monday evening.
It should be noted, though, that after the slam Darvish allowed just two hits and a walk in the following four-plus innings. At that point, he looked like he did in the second half of 2019, when he posted a 2.76 ERA and 0.808 WHIP in 13 starts. That included allowing just seven walks and striking out 118 in 81⅔ innings.
Two of those second-half starts were against the Brewers. He threw 10 innings in those two outings, allowed eight hits, one walk and one run and struck out 15.
That’s the sort of pitching we need from him today.
Corbin Burnes was the Brewers’ fourth-round pick in 2016 and he put up excellent numbers in their system. That hasn’t translated to the big leagues, not so far, anyway. He’s got a 6.10 ERA in 62 MLB appearances (four starts), with 21 home runs allowed in just 81 innings.
One of his four big-league starts was against the Cubs, April 6, 2019 in Milwaukee. Cubs hitters pounded him for six hits and seven runs in five innings, including home runs by Jason Heyward, Victor Caratini and Javier Baez. Burnes had started 2019 in the Milwaukee rotation, but after that game he made two more bad starts and spent the rest of the year in the bullpen. Career as a starter: 10.70 ERA, 11 home runs allowed in 17⅔ innings. Yikes.
Burnes did have a good spring training this year, allowing just one run in 10 innings with 13 strikeouts. For what spring numbers are worth.
Today’s game is on Fox-TV. It’s a full national broadcast with no blackouts. Fox announcers: Adam Amin and Eric Karros.
Please visit our SB Nation Brewers site Brew Crew Ball. If you do go there to interact with Brewers 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 2020 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.