- DEFEATING THE BEST: Today is the final game of 10 straight in which the Cubs play the top two teams in the NL by record this season, the Giants and Padres. So far, the Cubs have hung in there at 5-4.
- LONG BALL NOTE: The Cubs have eight players with at least five homers this season, tied for the most by any team in the majors with the Giants and Twins.
- HERE’S WHY WILLSON IS OFF TODAY: Willson Contreras leads the majors with 50 starts and 424 innings at catcher. That’s a pace for 133 starts.
- KIMBREL TALK: Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel, in his last 32 games since September 3, 2020, has posted a 0.57 ERA (two earned runs in 31⅓ innings). He has gone 15-of-17 in save opportunities (14-of-15 this year) and held opponents to a .123 BA (13-for-106), a .183 OBP, a .170 slugging mark and a .353 OPS.
Here are today’s particulars.
This lineup has “where’s the other split squad playing” written all over it. Fun fact, though: The Cubs are 4-0 in games P.J. Higgins has started this year. Also:
Ross called it just a “day off” for Bryant. Said “everybody’s dealing with something,” joking then that even the manager is dealing with a sore back.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) June 9, 2021
Ross said Happ came to him recently and said he was willing to help at 2B, if needed, with Javy banged up and others out. Has gotten pregame work at the position.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) June 9, 2021
Manager didn’t limit it to just a one-day thing. More, see how things go in coming games.
Ian Happ has played 59 MLB games (37 starts) at 2B, though none since 2019.
Jake Arrieta, RHP vs. Yu Darvish, RHP
Well now, this is an intriguing matchup. Many Cubs fans thought the Cubs should have kept Jake Arrieta after 2017 instead of signing Yu Darvish. For 2018, it looked better for Jake, but since the middle of 2019, Darvish has been the far better pitcher.
I’ve been looking through Arrieta’s 2021 record to try to find something, anything that would give me some optimism about today’s start.
Here’s all I’ve got:
2021 night games: six starts, 7.52 ERA, 1.595 WHIP, nine HR in 26⅓ innings
2021 day games: five starts, 3.04 ERA, 1.388 WHIP, two HR in 26⅔ innings
This isn’t just a 2021 thing for Jake, either. In his career he’s been about a third of a run better in ERA in day games (3.59) than night games (3.95).
Whether this is random or something that will help him today remains to be seen.
I also looked through Yu Darvish’s record to see if I could find anything that could provide some optimism for the Cubs today.
All I’ve got is this: Darvish has been slightly off over his last two starts: 5.23 ERA, two home runs and two HBP in 10⅓ innings against the Astros and Mets. Perhaps the Cubs are catching him at a down part of his season.
Darvish has not faced the Cubs since Game 3 of the 2017 NLDS when he was with the Dodgers. He threw well in that game but what I remember most about that game is that Carl Edwards Jr. somehow walked Darvish with the bases loaded with the Cubs trailing only 3-1 at the time.
The only time Darvish has ever pitched against the Cubs in the regular season was July 16, 2016 at Wrigley Field. It was just his fourth start back after Tommy John surgery.
No Cubs batter has ever homered off Darvish in a regular-season game (small sample size, 46 total at-bats). Perhaps they can change that this afternoon. Darvish does have a higher ERA this year (3.92, four starts) in day games than in night games (1.58, eight starts). Yes, I’m reaching.
But who knows? Maybe today will be Jake’s day and not Yu’s.
Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. Here’s a list of providers currently carrying Marquee.
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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.