- THAT NEW CENTER FIELDER: Rafael Ortega is one of the Cubs’ hottest hitters right now. He had an excellent July: .368/.419/.544 (21-for-57) with five doubles, a triple, a home run and five walks. That could put him in consideration for NL Player of the Month.
- IT LAST HAPPENED IN 2016: Both Michael Rucker (2 IP, 2 H, 1 R/ER, 1 BB, 1 SO) and Manuel Rodriguez (1 IP, 2 SO) made their major league debuts Friday night for the Cubs. That marked the first game in which two Cubs made their big league debuts since August 19, 2016 at Colorado when both Felix Peña and Rob Zastryzny did so in a 7-6 loss.
- WISDOM OF THE DAY: Patrick Wisdom has hit safely in a career-high six straight games (.421/.542/.789, 8-for-19), reaching base in 13 of his 24 plate appearances during that stretch in which he has a double, two home runs, four RBI and five walks.
- MORE ON THE PROFESSOR: Kyle Hendricks has a career-high 11-game winning streak spanning his last 16 starts dating to May 16 in Detroit. In that span he has a 2.78 ERA (29 earned runs in 94 innings ) and thrown at least six innings in 14 of his last 15 starts.
Here are today’s particulars.
Adbert Alzolay, RHP vs. Erick Fedde, RHP
Adbert Alzolay gave the Nats three runs in five innings May 17 at Wrigley Field. That included home runs by... oh, wait, two guys who aren’t on the Nats anymore (Trea Turner and Kyle Schwarber).
Adbert has had a rough time over his last nine starts: 6.28 ERA, 1.422 WHIP, 14 (!) home runs in 38⅔ innings. Yikes, with that many home runs he’s lucky his ERA is only in the sixes over that span.
Maybe things will be better today. Adbert has pitched better in day games (six starts, 3.56 ERA, four home runs in 30⅓ innings) than night games (12 starts, 5.29 ERA, 19 home runs in 63 innings), so there’s that, anyway.
Just to show you how much things can change in baseball, Erick Fedde’s only career start vs. the Cubs came a few days less than four years ago, August 6, 2017 in Washington.
Of the 28 players who played in that game, just four are still on the teams they were playing for that day, two for each club: Fedde and Ryan Zimmerman for the Nationals, Jason Heyward and Ian Happ for the Cubs.
Returning to the present day, Fedde started off this year pretty well but over his last six starts has been just plain bad: 8.53 ERA, 1.977 WHIP, six home runs in 25⅓ innings. Let’s hope Cubs hitters can take advantage of that this afternoon.
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.