- WORDS OF WISDOM: Patrick Wisdom last night hit his ninth home run of the season, the most among NL rookies despite playing just 20 games this season. Wisdom joins Hank Sauer in 1949 (10 home runs) as the only Cubs players since 1901 to hit nine or more homers in their first 20 games in a season.
- ALMOST AT THE TOP: The Cubs’ 90 home runs this season rank fourth in the NL behind the Braves (93), Giants (92) and Reds (91).
- RELIEF HELP: Craig Kimbrel ranks third among NL relievers with a 0.66 ERA (two earned runs in 27⅓ innings) while Dan Winkler’s 0.79 season ERA (two earned runs in 22⅔ innings) ranks fifth. This marks the first time since earned runs became an official stat in 1912 that two Cubs pitchers have a sub-1.00 ERA after at least 25 outings each.
- WINNING THE CLOSE ONES: The Cubs have a .606 winning percentage (20-13) in games decided by two or fewer runs, the fourth-best mark in baseball behind Cleveland (19-9/.679), the Red Sox (18-10/.643) and the Reds (14-9/.609).
Here are today’s particulars.
Alec Mills, RHP vs. Taijuan Walker, RHP
Alec Mills has not had a good season. His performance was pretty good early, then he had four outings from April 28-May 7 in which he allowed 11 runs in seven innings. Then he spent some time on the injured list with a back strain. His only outing since his return, last Tuesday against the Padres, wasn’t really any good either.
His season high in pitches in the major leagues is 57, and that was April 28. He did throw 60 pitches in a rehab outing for Triple-A Iowa on June 2, so this game is likely to be a modified bullpen game.
Mills has one career start vs. the Mets, August 29, 2018 at Wrigley Field. That’s largely irrelevant because most of those players aren’t on the Mets anymore. Only one current member of the Mets (Jose Peraza, 3-for-9) has more than two at-bats against Mills. Perhaps he can use that to his advantage.
The Cubs scored three runs in 3⅓ innings off Taijuan Walker April 20 at Wrigley Field largely as the result of six walks.
Since that game Walker has a 1.72 ERA and 0.915 WHIP and has really cut down on the walks.
One Cubs hitter has had particular success against Walker: Joc Pederson is 7-for-17 (.412) with two doubles and a home run. Eric Sogard is 3-for-10. No other Cubs hitter has more than four career AB vs. Walker.
This would appear to be a mismatch on paper, but as the saying goes, they don’t play the games on paper.
Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. Here’s a list of providers currently carrying Marquee. It’s also on ESPN (outside the Cubs and Mets market territories).
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The 2021 Game Thread procedure will be a bit different than previous years. It will be similar to what we’ve used for Spring Training.
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 post related to that particular game, including the First Pitch Thread and the overflow thread, 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 the overflow thread 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 90 minutes after the scheduled game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.