Today’s roster move: Here
This weather forecast does not look encouraging for baseball tonight. As usual, here’s the local radar for you to keep handy.
As this is the final game of 2020 between the two teams, I suppose they’ll do their best to get it in. Looks like at best there could be a delayed start.
The Cubs and Reds have one common off day remaining, one week from today (September 17), though that falls in the middle of a Reds homestand and in the middle of a pandemic, it might be logistically difficult to get the Reds to come to Chicago for one game.
So we’ll see.
- SWING AND A MISS: Craig Kimbrel has struck out at least two batters in nine straight relief outings, the longest single-season streak by a Cubs reliever since at least 1901. The franchise record over multiple season is 10 straight, set by Hippo Vaughn in 1915-16. (Vaughn’s relief outings were interspersed among starts.)
- THERE’S SOMEPLACE BETTER THAN HOME: The Cubs are hitting 45 points higher on the road (.252) than at home (.207), the second-largest swing between any club with a higher road average than home average, topped only by the Nationals (.291 on the road, .241 at home). Also, the Cubs’ 88-point difference between their .457 road slugging mark and their .369 home slugging mark is the largest among teams with a better road mark, as Washington (.479 road slugging, .392 home slugging) is second.
- WRIGLEY FIELD, PITCHERS PARK: Combined, teams at Wrigley Field have hit .213 (355-for-1,881), the second-lowest average in any ballpark this season, just ahead of Seattle’s T-Mobile Park (.210).
- PATIENCE: Cubs hitters have averaged 4.17 pitches per plate appearance, tops in the majors ahead of the Indians (4.13), Reds (4.08) and Rays (4.08).
Here are today’s particulars.
Adbert Alzolay, RHP vs. Sonny Gray, RHP
Adbert Alzolay has made three appearances this season, all in doubleheaders, two starts, one relief outing.
That should have been an inning-ending double play. Anthony Rizzo HAS to make that play. If he does, Alzolay gets out of the inning and the Cubs still lead 1-0. Instead, a run scored and Alzolay then threw eight straight balls, loading the bases and then forcing in a run.
That’s how games can turn on one pitch. Clearly, Alzolay has to learn from that experience and be better tonight.
He threw a scoreless inning of relief against the Reds in the second game of a doubleheader August 29 in Cincinnati, and many thought he should have gone longer in that game. Maybe the Cubs win that game if he does.
Sonny Gray was a contender for this year’s Cy Young Award until he had a stinker of an outing against the Cardinals September 1 in Cincinnati. He faced 10 batters, gave up five hits, three walks and six runs, and threw 38 pitches to record two outs, after which he was given the rest of the night off.
It’s not likely he’ll do that again, especially since he had an excellent start vs. the Cubs July 29 in Cincinnati, allowing one hit (a double by Ian Happ) and two unearned runs, with 11 strikeouts.
Gray has always been tough on the Cubs. Lifetime: seven starts, 2.38 ERA, 0.768 WHIP, 50 strikeouts in 41⅔ innings. Current Cubs are hitting .111 (13-for-117) against Gray, though three of those hits are homers (Kris Bryant, Jason Heyward, Jason Kipnis).
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, titled “Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week/Date) game threads.” It will contain every thread related to that particular game, including the First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads, as well as the recap when it’s published. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post.
You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads in the box marked “Chicago Cubs Game Threads” at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). The StoryStream for each game can also be found in that section.
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.