The Cubs are back in action this evening. Notes...
- INTERLEAGUING: The Cubs have had a winning record against the A.L. every year since 2016 and last had a losing season against the A.L. in 2014 (9-11). They’re 6-1 in their last seven interleague games in 2020 and 9-3 in their last 12 dating to July 19 of last year. Since the start of 2016, the Cubs are 55-29 (.655) in interleague play, the best mark in the N.L .and second in the majors behind Boston (58-26/.690).
- YOU HAVE TO EARN IT: The Cubs have allowed just one unearned run this season, tied for the fewest in the majors with three other teams: Arizona, Minnesota and St. Louis. This is a vast improvement over last year, when in their first 13 games the Cubs had already surrendered 10 unearned runs, tied for third-most in the majors at the time.
- GOOD STARTS: Despite Tyler Chatwood allowing eight runs in 2⅓ innings Thursday, Cubs starting pitchers rank third in the majors with a 2.83 ERA (24 earned runs in 76⅓ innings). Tonight’s opponent, Cleveland, leads the majors as its starters have posted a 2.24 ERA thus far.
- KEEPING ‘EM HITLESS: Jeremy Jeffress has held opponents hitless in 18 at-bats spanning 6.0 innings thus far. That 0-for-18 stretch is the longest for a reliever to begin a Cubs career since Dolan Nichols held opponents 0-for-19 through four games as a Cub from April 15-23, 1958. The Nichols streak is the longest stretch for any pitcher to begin his Cubs career over multiple games since 1926, so Jeffress has a chance to break it in his next appearance. (H/T: Ed Hartig)
- LET’S GET HAPP-Y: Ian Happ last Thursday went 1-for-3 with a walk, and in his last 21 games dating to September 21, 2019 he is hitting .371 (23-for-62) with six doubles, eight homers, 18 RBI, a .451 on-base percentage, an .855 slugging percentage and a 1.306 OPS.
David Ross said the Cubs were going to have "fun" on Monday's off day. Here's some of the fun:
A star-studded ensemble at Wrigley Field. pic.twitter.com/UVIv4Mia6O— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 11, 2020
Here are today’s particulars.
We're back in action tonight! pic.twitter.com/XtUhdcNl34— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 11, 2020
Hello, Cubs fans.— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) August 11, 2020
We play your baseball team the next two days, and yes, we are aware that we blew a 3-1 lead in the World Series FOUR years ago.
There! We beat you to the punchline of that really creative and timely joke.#OurTribe pic.twitter.com/tVdZ9yOsQC
Indians Twitter with a sense of humor. Well played.
Jon Lester, LHP vs. Adam Plutko, RHP
Jon Lester seems rejuvenated this year. He’s allowed just four hits, two walks and one run in 11 innings in his two starts. So far, David Ross has limited Lester’s pitch count, as the veteran has yet to throw 90 pitches in a game.
Jon’s last appearance against the Indians was May 23, 2018 at Wrigley Field. He threw seven innings and allowed one run, but as you’ll see below, that wasn’t quite good enough, not that day, anyway.
Cleveland hitters, overall, are a small sample size 15-for-63 (.238) against Jon with two home runs (Francisco Lindor and Franmil Reyes).
Mike Clevinger was supposed to start this game for Cleveland, but as noted by Sara Sanchez earlier today, Clevinger was quarantined after going out with teammate Zach Plesac in Chicago over the weekend.
Instead, Adam Plutko gets the start. Plutko has made one start and one relief appearance this year for a total of seven innings, allowing two runs with no walks and five strikeouts.
Plutko was Lester’s opponent in that 2018 game at Wrigley. He threw six shutout innings, allowing two hits and four walks in a 1-0 Cleveland win. Per Fangraphs Plutko mainly relies on his fastball and slider, and his fastball averages a rather ordinary 91 miles per hour.
More on Indians pitching:
The Indians host the Cubs tonight, looking to extend a streak:— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) August 11, 2020
They've allowed 4 runs or fewer in 17 straight games to start the season.
The only team with a longer such streak to start a season in the Modern Era (since 1900) is the 1981 A's, in 21 straight. pic.twitter.com/ghmQKOOjJR
Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. Here is a list of providers currently carrying Marquee. The game is also on FS1 (no blackouts).
Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Baseball-reference.com game preview
Please visit our SB Nation Indians site Let’s Go Tribe. If you do go there to interact with Indians 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/Date) 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.