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Chicago Cubs vs. Kansas City Royals preview, Monday 8/3, 7:15 CT

The Cubs open a set against an AL Central squad.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Notes for a new week and series!

  • OFF TO A GREAT START: The Cubs have won at least seven of their first nine games for the 13th time since 1901. Tonight, they’ll try to win at least eight of their first 10 games in a season for just the seventh time since 1901 (done in 1907, 1934, 1969, 1989, 1998, 2016). Note that all but two of the previous six wound up with postseason appearances and two of them with World Series wins.
  • AND MORE GREAT START(ER)S: Through nine games Cubs starting pitchers have posted a 2.21 ERA (13 earned runs in 53 innings), the second-lowest mark in baseball trailing only Rockies starters (2.00 ERA). Cubs starters have produced a .456 opponent OPS, the best mark among any starting rotation (Rockies are second, .545)
  • OUR AMERICAN LEAGUE FRIENDS: 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). Since the start of 2016, the Cubs are 52-28 (.650) in interleague play, the best mark in the N.L
  • NOBODY BEATS THE RIZ: Anthony Rizzo yesterday was 1-for-5 and has now reached base safely in his last 23 games at Wrigley Field dating to August 7 of last season. During this stretch, Rizzo has hit .406 (28-for-69) with a 1.240 OPS at Wrigley Field.
  • LET’S GET HAPP-Y: Ian Happ yesterday was 0-for-1 with two walks and a stolen base, and in his last 17 games dating to September 21 of last season he is hitting .377 (20-for-53) with five doubles, eight homers, 18 RBI, a .441 on-base percentage, a .925 slugging percentage and a 1.365 OPS.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Kris Bryant, obviously, cleared to play tonight. That’s good news. From KB late this afternoon:

Royals lineup:

Alec Mills, RHP vs. Danny Duffy, LHP

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

It took Alec Mills a while, but he does seem to have found a niche in the Cubs rotation, as a decent No. 5 starter.

Mills was acquired from the Royals for Donnie Dewees in February 2017 and this will be his first start against his former team. (Dewees, incidentally, was reacquired in March 2019 for a minor leaguer named Stephen Ridings, who had a poor year at the Rookie League level.)

Mills had a really nice first start of 2020 last Tuesday in Cincinnati, holding the Reds to two hits, two walks and two runs in six innings. He made one mistake, a home-run ball to Nick Castellanos with a runner on. His style is similar to Kyle Hendricks — Mills is best when moving the ball around the zone and inducing weak contact.

He has obviously never faced the Royals or anyone on their current roster.

Danny Duffy is one of those guys who you always think is going to have a breakout season and then he either gets hurt, has several bad outings, or both. In a nine-plus season MLB career he has not made 30 starts in a season — not even once.

He hasn’t faced the Cubs since 2011, so that’s not relevant (though the boxscore might amuse), and the only Cub he’s faced more than a handful of times is Jason Kipnis (8-for-32, a double, a homer).

Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. Here is a list of providers currently carrying Marquee.

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Royals site Royals Review. If you do go there to interact with Royals 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.