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Chicago Cubs vs. Tampa Bay Rays preview, Monday 5/29, 1:20 CT

The Cubs open a series against the team with the best record in MLB.

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Monday notes...

  • LOTS AND LOTS OF RUNS ALLOWED: Cubs pitchers have surrendered 101 runs in the last 14 games, an average of 7.21 per game. That is exactly twice the average of 3.605 in their first 38 games, when they gave up 137 runs.

Since 1901, the Cubs have had 133 spans of 14 games in which they yielded at least 100 runs, of which 28 did not overlap other spans. By far the most runs they gave up in any of those 28 spans was a whopping 149, in 1999. They gave up 120 in 1930 and 1960, 116 in 2000 and 2021, 114 last year and 113 in 2021.

Only three of the remaining 20 before the current span came this century: 111 in 2000, 105 in 2010 and 102 in 2005. (Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)

  • BULLPEN WOES: Following play on May 12, the Cubs bullpen had a 3.42 ERA (53 earned runs in 129⅓ innings), the eighth-best mark in the majors. Since then, Cubs relievers have posted an 8.05 ERA (45 earned runs in 50⅓ innings) in the team’s last 14 games, and the team is 3-11 over that span, allowing a MLB-worst 101 runs. Overall Cubs relievers have a 4.65 ERA, which ranks 26th in MLB.
  • ONE GOOD RELIEVER: Mark Leiter Jr., last 12 appearances since April 27: 1.38 ERA, 0.615 WHIP, one walk and 17 strikeouts in 13 innings.
  • WORDS OF WISDOM: Patrick Wisdom’s two-homer game Sunday was his third this year and eighth of his career (all as a Cub). His 14 home runs rank tied for sixth in MLB.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Insert "other split squad" joke here.

Rays lineup:

Marcus Stroman, RHP vs. Taj Bradley, RHP

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Stroman bounced back from a really bad outing May 14 at Minnesota to have good starts the last two times out, for a total of seven hits and three runs allowed in 14 total innings against two pretty good-hitting teams, the Phillies and Mets.

Last year against the Rays — ugh, don’t click on this link. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Current Rays Brandon Lowe, Francisco Mejia and Manuel Margot have previously homered off Stroman.

Taj Bradley has spent part of this year in the Rays rotation and part of it in Triple-A. He has pitched past the fifth inning just once in his five previous MLB starts. Last time out, May 23 vs. the Blue Jays, he allowed nine hits and four runs in four innings.

He has never faced the Cubs or anyone on their active roster. You know what that usually means.


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

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday 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 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.