TORONTO — Yes, I have headed to the Great White North to see this three-game series. One of the reasons is this: I’ve seen every game the Cubs have played in Toronto up to now (2003, 2008, 2014) and didn’t want to end my streak. I had plans to go in 2020, but that got cancelled by the pandemic.
Now that the MLB schedule’s been changed and the Cubs will go to Toronto every other year (they’ll make a Toronto trip again in 2023, in fact), I’ll probably stop the streak after this series.
But beyond all that, Toronto is a wonderful city to visit with lots of great stuff to do, and only eight hours’ drive from Chicago. It’s my first Cubs road trip (outside of going to the South Side of Chicago, Milwaukee and the Field of Dreams in Iowa) since May 2019, when I went to see the team play in Seattle.
- LOTS OF CUBS: Luke Farrell became the 58th Cub to appear this season when he pitched last Wednesday at Wrigley Field. The Cubs have used the third-most players this year after the Angels (61) and Pirates (60). When Brendon Little and Jeremiah Estrada, pitchers added for the Blue Jays series, make their MLB debuts, that will make 60, and the second time the Cubs have had 60 or more players in a season. First time: Last year, with a franchise (and MLB) record 69.
- ALSO REGARDING LITTLE AND ESTRADA: When those two make their MLB debuts, they will become the 13th and 14th Cubs who have done that this year. The other 12: Javier Assad, Narciso Crook, Anderson Espinoza, Brandon Hughes, Caleb Kilian, Christopher Morel, Nicholas Padilla, Ethan Roberts, Seiya Suzuki, Matt Swarmer, Erich Uelmen and Nelson Velázquez.
- HE’S HOT: Seiya Suzuki, last 11 games since August 19: .343/.452/.543 (12-for-35) with four doubles, a home run and six walks.
- HE’S NOT: Willson Contreras, last four games: 0-for-12 with five strikeouts.
Here are today’s particulars.
Blue Jays lineup:
Also of interest for tonight (and this series, time listed is PT):
Javier Assad, RHP vs. Jose Berrios, RHP
Javier Assad had a decent MLB debut last Tuesday against the Cardinals. A bit shaky early, and with four walks overall, he was able to complete four innings without allowing a run against a pretty good hitting team.
Assad hasn’t yet thrown 100 MLB pitches so I can’t show you a pitch selection graphic, and he has obviously never faced the Blue Jays or anyone on their active roster.
Hoping for another good, but longer, outing.
The Blue Jays traded for Jose Berrios last year and he was pretty good over the last couple of months, so they signed him to a seven-year, $131 million contract.
Whoops, that’s not working out very well. Berrios has made some good starts this year but mostly he’s been getting hit really hard, with an AL-leading 27 home runs allowed, and in August he has a 7.08 ERA and 1.525 WHIP in four starts.
He’s been somewhat better in Toronto (4.10 ERA in 12 starts) than on the road (6.48 ERA in 13 starts), but that still isn’t all that good.
Despite Berrios’ numbers, the Jays are 18-7 in his 25 starts, largely because Berrios ranks fourth of 125 qualified starters in run support, 5.9 runs per start.
He last faced the Cubs in 2020, which is largely irrelevant because most of those guys are not on the team anymore. The only Cub who has more than a handful of PA against him is Franmil Reyes, who is 7-for-14 (.500) against him.
Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. Here’s a list of providers currently carrying Marquee.
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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.