- NOBODY BEATS THE RIZ: In addition to tying Aramis Ramirez for sixth on the all-time Cubs list with his 239th Cub homer Friday night, that blast by Anthony Rizzo was his 533rd extra-base hit with the Cubs. That put him in 10th place on that Cubs all-time list, surpassing his fellow No. 44 Phil Cavarretta.
- RELIEF STREAKS: Three Cubs relievers have scoreless stretches that are within the top five longest active streaks in the majors. Andrew Chafin’s 24-inning scoreless streak leads active streaks while Brad Wieck (currently on the 10-day IL) has a 17-inning scoreless streak that ranks fourth, and Craig Kimbrel’s 14⅔-inning scoreless streak is fifth-longest.
- MORE STREAKING: Nico Hoerner is on a seven-game hitting streak in which he is batting .346/.393/.385 (9-for-26) with a double and two walks.
- ODDLY SPECIFIC NUMBERS OF THE DAY: Javier Báez is one of just three major league players to reach 21 homers, 57 RBI and 12 steals this season. The others: Fernando Tatis Jr. (28 HR, 64 RBI, 22 SB) and Shohei Ohtani (33 HR, 72 RBI, 12 SB).
Here are today’s particulars.
Zach Davies, RHP vs. Merrill Kelly, RHP
Like his teammate Kyle Hendricks, Zach Davies also could have done without April. Since May 1: 3.05 ERA, 1.155 WHIP, just six home runs in 79⅔ innings.
Despite playing for an NL West team in 2020, Davies did not face the D-backs last year. In 2019 he faced them twice, allowing five runs in 12 innings, but the better of the two outings was July 18, 2019 at Chase Field, where he allowed just one run in seven innings. In his career at Chase Field (two starts) he’s allowed four earned runs in 12 innings (3.00 ERA).
Small sample size, of course — no current D-backs hitter has more than eight career AB against Davies.
Merrill Kelly also had a poor start to 2021 and... well, he’s been somewhat better since, but still mediocre for the season. His last five starts have been pretty good, though: 2.05 ERA, 0.978 WHIP, only three walks in 30⅔ innings.
He has faced the Cubs just once in his career, April 19, 2019 at Wrigley Field. As is the case with many Cubs games compared then to now, many of those players aren’t on the Cubs anymore, so that might not be relevant.
Nevertheless, I’m looking for a strong offensive show from the Cubs this afternoon. (Also FWIW, the Cubs are 22-19 in day games, 24-27 at night.)
Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. Here’s a list of providers currently carrying Marquee. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Diamondbacks 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.