- BIRTHDAY GREETINGS: Happy birthday to Cubs radio play-by-play voice Pat Hughes, who turns 68 today.
- BLOWOUT HISTORY: Thursday’s 10-1 rout by the Mets and Friday’s 9-0 drubbing by the Reds marked just the 13th time since 1901 that the Cubs have lost back-to-back games by at least nine runs. The 12th time had been on May 13 and 14, when they were shellacked at Minnesota, 11-1 and 16-3. They never have suffered three straight defeats by at least nine runs.
Thursday and Friday were the third time they have lost consecutive games by exactly nine runs. In all three, one game was 9-0 and the other 10-1! They lost to the Reds, 10-1 and 9-0, in 1950, and to the Diamondbacks, 9-0 and 10-1, in 2004.
The years and scores of the consecutive losses by at least nine runs before this season that were not both by exactly nine: 1908: 11-2 (Phillies), 11-0 (Giants). 1912: 12-1 (Reds), 9-0 (Pirates). 1924: 13-4, 15-3 (both Cardinals). 1947: 13-2 (Reds), 11-1 (Cardinals) 1976: 14-4, 14-2 (both Reds). 1998: 13-3, 12-3 (both Astros). (All the above courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)
- MORE ON RUNS ALLOWED: Including Friday’s 9-0 loss, the Cubs have allowed 10 or more runs in five of their last 12 games since May 13 after not doing so at all in the team’s first 38 contests to begin the season. On the other hand, the Cubs have given up two or fewer runs in 21 games this year, tied for the third-most such games in the majors behind only the Mariners (22) and Rays (22).
- THIS STREAK IS OVER: The Cubs were shut out Friday, the first time they did not score in a game this year. That broke a streak of scoring in all of their 49 games in 2023, and in 59 straight games dating to September 25, 2022. That 59-game run was the club’s longest since scoring in 70 consecutive contests from August 12, 2021 to May 4, 2022. The franchise record for scoring in consecutive games is 127, from June 15, 1958 (second game) through May 13, 1959.
- THE MOREL FILES: Christopher Morel’s eighth-inning single broke up the Reds’ combined no-hit bid Friday afternoon. Morel has hit safely in 14 of his 15 MLB games this year and is batting .333/.365/.833 (20-for-60) with three doubles, nine home runs and 17 runs scored.
Here are today’s particulars.
Jameson Taillon, RHP vs. Brandon Williamson, LHP
Welp. Time for Jameson Taillon to put up, or admit that he’s still being affected by the groin injury that put him on the shelf for a while. Originally he was going to start Thursday, the start given to Kyle Hendricks, but the team gave him two extra days. Maybe it’ll help.
Taillon has not faced the Reds since 2019, when he was still with the Pirates, and no current Reds batter has more than eight career PA against him. So maybe he can start turning things around.
Brandon Williamson is making his third MLB start. He was the Mariners’ second round pick in 2019 (the Cubs picked Chase Strumpf in that round) and came to the Reds in the deal that sent Eugenio Suarez and Jesse Winker to Seattle.
He threw reasonably well in his first two starts. He’s obviously never faced the Cubs, but he did face the Iowa Cubs on April 29 and... didn’t get out of the first inning, they scored eight runs off him and that included hits by current Cubs Miles Mastrobuoni and Matt Mervis.
So perhaps they can give their teammates some pointers. Williamson has not thrown enough MLB pitches (100) to have a Statcast pitch selection chart.
Today’s game is on Fox-TV (regional — coverage map). Fox announcers: announcers: Jeff Levering, John Smoltz and Ken Rosenthal. A reminder that if you subscribe to MLB.TV or MLB Extra Innings, you can watch this game via those services even if it’s not on the Fox affiliate in your market.
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The 2023 Game Thread procedure will be like last year’s, 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.