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Chicago Cubs vs. Tampa Bay Rays preview, Tuesday 4/19, 6:40 CT

The Cubs go for their third straight win.

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Tuesday notes...

  • YOUR DAILY SUZUKI: Seiya Suzuki went 2-for-3 Monday and thsu extended his hitting streak to nine games, tying Akinori Iwamura (2007 Rays) for the longest hitting streak to begin a career for a Japanese-born player. That nine-game hitting streak is also tied for the longest by a Cub to begin a career (last done by Andy Pafko in 1943). Suzuki also became the fourth Cub since 1901 (Art Williams, 1902, Hal Jeffcoat, 1948 and Tony Taylor, 1958) to record a 10-game on-base streak without reaching on an error to begin a career.
  • WORDS OF WISDOM: After starting the 2022 season 1-for-21, Patrick Wisdom is hitting .583/.643/1.250 (7-for-12, 1.893 OPS) with five doubles (now leading the NL) and a home run over his last five games. That puts his season numbers up to a reasonable .242/.297/.485.
  • HOT HITTING: The Cubs have held a lead in each of their first 10 games of the season. That’s the longest such stretch since 2010 (also 10). Overall the Cubs are hitting .277 (92-for-332) through 10 games (second-highest in MLB). Last year after 10 games the team was batting .164 (49-for-299).
  • SECONDS: The Cubs’ team OPS of .803 entering Tuesday’s action is second in MLB to the Rockies (.805)... Frank Schwindel has 86 hits since his recall to the Cubs July 30, 2021. That’s second in MLB to Austin Riley (87)... Willson Contreras has a career OPS of .808. That’s second in MLB among catchers since 2016 (Yasmani Grandal, .824).

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

The Rays lineup was not available at posting time. Please check the BCB Twitter feed for the Rays lineup.

Justin Steele, LHP vs. Josh Fleming, LHP

USA TODAY NETWORK
USA TODAY NETWORK

Justin Steele has spent the first two starts of 2022 showing that he belongs in a MLB rotation.

The two runs he was charged with last Thursday against the Rockies scored off Ethan Roberts after Steele left the game. I thought Steele threw very well in Coors Field, a tough pitching environment.

As far as this game goes, Steele has never faced the Rays or anyone on their active roster. Hopefully that will be to his advantage.

I’m listing Josh Fleming here because of this tweet:

Matt Wisler is listed as the starting pitcher tonight on the Rays website. But Wisler is a reliever who hasn’t thrown more than 28 pitches in an outing this year, so he’s likely being used as an “opener,” and Fleming will follow. So here you will get a preview of Fleming, since the Rays have been referring to pitchers like that as their “bulk guys” and he’ll likely pitch most of the innings tonight.

Fleming was the Rays’ fifth-round pick in 2017 out of Webster University in St. Louis. He’s the first MLB player ever from that school. He has made a number of starts and a number of “bulk” relief appearances since his callup in 2020.

As you can see below, he doesn’t throw all that hard and relies on sinkers and cutters. He has never faced the Cubs and only three Cubs (Clint Frazier, Yan Gomes, Jonathan Villar) have ever faced him.

That’s about all I know about Josh Fleming. Carry on.

Statcast
Statcast

Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. Here’s a list of providers currently carrying Marquee.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Rays site Drays Bay. If you do go there to interact with Rays fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.

The 2022 Game Thread procedure will be like last years, 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.