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Chicago Cubs vs. Minnesota Twins preview, Friday 9/18, 7:15 CT

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The Cubs go for their fifth consecutive win.

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Chicago Cubs Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Friday notes:

  • THE 21st CENTURY: The Cubs have won at least 30 of their first 50 games for the fourth time since 2000. Other years: 2001 (30-20), 2016 (35-15) and 2019 (30-20).
  • THE PROFESSOR: Since the start of 2019, Kyle Hendricks has a 2.10 ERA (30 earned runs in 128⅓ innings) in 19 starts at Wrigley Field, the third-best home ERA in the majors during that span, trailing only Mike Clevinger (1.97) and Hyun Jin Ryu (2.09). More on Hendricks below.
  • CHICAGO, CHICAGO: The Cubs (30-20) and White Sox (33-17) are both at least 10 games over .500 for the first time since May 16, 2016 when the Cubs were 27-9 and the White Sox were 24-14. (H/T: Elias)
  • HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT: The Cubs have been hit by 42 pitches this season, the most in the majors, an average of 0.84 HBP/game. In 2016, the Cubs set a franchise record with 96 HBP, which equates to only 0.59 HBP/game/ Willson Contreras is tied for the big league lead, having been hit 11 times (also Keston Hiura).
  • YES, HE IS GETTING BETTER: In his last 12 appearances since August 14, Craig Kimbrel has a 1.59 ERA (two earned runs in 11⅓ innings). In that span he has held opponents to a .108 average (4-for-37), a .267 OBP, a .108 slugging mark and a .375 OPS and has 24 strikeouts during this span, good for 19.06 strikeouts/9.0 IP.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Although, remember this: Anthony Rizzo, lifetime from the No. 1 spot: .332/.422/.592 (70-for-211), 14 home runs.

Twins lineup:

Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. Rich Hill, LHP

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Hendricks, five 2020 starts at Wrigley Field: 35⅔ innings, .211 opponents BA and .540 opponents OPS, 2.27 ERA, 0.813 WHIP, only TWO walks.

Kyle Hendricks, September 2020: three starts, 21⅔ innings, 1.66 ERA, 0.969 WHIP, just two walks.

This is The Professor we’ve grown to know and love. He seems to be back in his groove after a subpar August.

He has faced the Twins only once, and that was five years ago, June 19, 2015, and on the road. That start wasn’t good (six runs in five innings), but only two Twins players from that game are still on the team, and several Twins players who appeared in that game are retired.

Things are lining up for a good Kyle start.

Rich Hill. Wow, he’s still pitching, and still pitching fairly well, too. A reminder that Hill was the Cubs’ fourth-round pick in the 2002 draft — another pick in that round was current Cubs mental skills coordinator John Baker. Check out the lineups from Hill’s first major-league start July 25, 2005.

Hill has made five starts this year and not pitched beyond the fifth inning in any of them, he’s maxed out at 90 pitches.

He’s pitched against the Cubs three times in the regular season, most recently June 14, 2019 at Dodger Stadium, where he held the Cubs to three runs in seven innings. He did allow home runs to Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant that night, though.

It’s in the postseason where Hill most dominated the Cubs — two starts, 11 innings, five hits, one run, three walks, 11 strikeouts.

But that was 2016 and 2017 and this isn’t a postseason game and Hill’s 40. It’s likely the last time he pitches against the Cubs unless somehow these teams meet in this year’s World Series. Here’s hoping the Cubs send him away with a pounding as a parting gift.

Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

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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.