- HAPPY BIRTHDAY, WILLSON CONTRERAS!: Willson turns 30 today. Over his last five games: .647/.727/1.118 (1.845 OPS), 11-for-17, a triple, two home runs, ZERO strikeouts. His next home run will be the 100th of his career.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MYCHAL GIVENS!: Mychal turns 32 today. Givens had a string of four straight scoreless outings snapped on Wednesday when he allowed two home runs, but the Cubs won the game anywa.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NICO HOERNER!: Nico turns 25 today and as a result of his collision with umpire Dan Iassogna on Wednesday, is not in the starting lineup. An update on Nico is below.
- NON-BIRTHDAY NOTE: Rafael Ortega, last 10 games: .300/.364/.467 (9-for-30), five doubles.
- SOME RELIEF: The Cubs bullpen leads the majors with 150 strikeouts, just ahead of the Reds (149) and the pen is third with 10.38 strikeouts per nine innings. Also, the Cubs pen has induced 16 double plays, tied for second-most in the majors with the Rockies.
And, a few player notes:
Cubs updates:— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) May 13, 2022
• Suzuki, Hoerner still day to day with their ankle injuries.
• Simmons: 9 innings today/tomorrow with Iowa
• Mills scheduled for bullpen session tomorrow
• Bote will start getting ABs in extended spring
Here are today’s particulars.
Drew Smyly, LHP vs. Zach Davies, RHP
Most of Drew Smyly’s starts this year have at least been decent, so that’s good.
The Diamondbacks have hit slightly worse (.614 OPS) vs. LHP than RHP (.653 OPS).
In Smyly’s last outing against the D-Backs, September 21, 2021 at Chase Field, he came into the game after our old buddy Jesse Chavez was the opener for Atlanta and he threw 3⅓ innings and allowed one run, on only 37 pitches.
Given this bullpen has been a bit overworked lately, he’ll have to go longer than that tonight.
Zach Davies started out this year like he pitched last year for the Cubs — a 5.40 ERA and high walk rate (10 in 18⅓ innings) in four starts in April.
But then in his two May starts, he has thrown 11x innings without allowing an earned run and the walk rate is down (three in 11⅓ innings).
One thing you will notice about the pitch selection/velocity chart for Davies below is that his fastball (listed as “sinker”) velocity is up this year, to 89.1 miles per hour. That same pitch last year: 88 miles per hour (for reference, I’ve also included that chart below). This suggests Davies might have been injured part or all of 2021, if he’s throwing a bit faster now than he did then.
So be it. Willson Contreras is 9-for-34 (.265) against Davies with two doubles and two home runs, and Ian Happ, though he is just 1-for-9 against Davies, has also walked four times.
Let’s hope we see the bad old Davies tonight.
Today’s game is on Apple TV+. Here’s how to watch the game. Announcers tonight: Stephen Nelson, Cliff Floyd, Katie Nolan and Heidi Watney.
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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.