Happy birthday to Yu! (No, not you — Yu Darvish, who turns 34 today.)
There’s an important commemoration happening Sunday: The Cubs and Brewers join all of MLB in celebrating the centennial of the founding of the Negro Leagues. All MLB players, managers, coaches and umpires will wear a symbolic Negro Leagues 100th anniversary patch logo during games and the Cubs will have a special virtual first pitch video that features the President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Bob Kendrick and Cubs Hall of Famer Billy Williams.
Let’s also remember Buck O’Neil and his contributions to the Cubs and baseball:
If you have never watched O’Neil’s speech given at the induction of a number of Negro Leaguers into the Hall of Fame in 2006, it’s worth seven and a half minutes of your time today:
More on Buck O’Neil:
I know what Buck O'Neil would say today. He would say, "Yeah!" in that big, beautiful way he did, a way that made "Yeah!" sound like the most profound expression of happiness available in the English language. 2/4— Joe Posnanski (@JPosnanski) August 16, 2020
He would say, "We could play, man!" And they could play, those wonderful players who built the bridge for Jackie, Willie, Henry, Ernie, Roberto, Frank and Gibby. Just think of all the amazing players MLB and MLB fans missed because of blind hate. 3/4— Joe Posnanski (@JPosnanski) August 16, 2020
More than anything he would sing his favorite song, a song with only 10 words: "The greatest thing in all my life is loving you." Love is what Buck O'Neil was about. He spent his life spreading love and inspiring love. I wish he was here to see today. But I believe he will. 4/4— Joe Posnanski (@JPosnanski) August 16, 2020
Here are today’s particulars.
I’m glad David Ross is giving Javier Baez the day off today. He’s in an 0-for-16 slump.
Jon Lester, LHP vs. Josh Lindblom, RHP
Jon Lester has made three starts this year and all of them have been outstanding. His K rate is down — just 4.8 per nine innings — but he seems to have embraced Kyle Hendricks’ “just get guys out” mantra. Of the 66 batters he’s faced this year, just 13 have reached base (seven hits, four walks, two HBP).
It used to be that Joe Maddon tried to avoid having Jon start against the Brewers because they were a team that liked to run, but this year’s Brewers rank tied for 23rd (with the Cubs and Diamondbacks) with just five stolen bases. They’ve also got quite a few LH hitters. The 2020 Brewers might just be a better matchup for Jon.
Last winter, when Josh Lindblom wanted to leave KBO and return to MLB, I had hoped the Cubs might sign him. As it turned out, the Cubs rotation has been excellent so far in 2020, so they didn’t really need him. Meanwhile, Lindblom has not pitched more than five innings in any of his three starts for Milwaukee and has been hit pretty hard (5.68 ERA, 1.579 WHIP, four HR in 12⅔ innings, though also 20 strikeouts).
Lindblom’s experience vs. the Cubs amounts to a pair of relief appearances in 2012, when he was with the Dodgers, largely irrelevant now. Only two Cubs have ever faced him: Jason Heyward (0-for-2) and Jason Kipnis (1-for-6).
So let’s hope the Cubs have a good scouting report on Lindblom.
Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. Here is a list of providers currently carrying Marquee.
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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.