- GETTING BETTER ALL THE TIME: This might surprise you: Since play resumed after last year’s break for the All-Star Game, the Cubs have made the biggest improvement of any team in winning percentage over their performance prior to last year’s break. They were .380 (35-57) at the break last year. Since then, they are .509 (81-78), an increase of 129 points. The Reds have improved by 107 points, to .481 from .374, and the Diamondbacks by 99, to .534 from .435. No other team has advanced by more than 73 points. The average gain of the 14 better teams is 56 points. The average loss of the 16 worse teams is 48 points. The Yankees tumbled the most, by 174 points, to .522 from .696. The Rockies fell by 93 points, to .369 from .462, and the Mets by 89 points, to .535 from .624. The Twins dropped by 73 points, to .459 from .532. No other team slipped by more than 49 points. (Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)
- SWEET HOME CHICAGO: Nineteen of the Cubs’ next 23 games will be in the city of Chicago. Tonight begins a 10-game homestand, followed by two games on the South Side against the White Sox. After that, they’ll head to St. Louis for four, then return home for four against the Reds and three against the Braves.
- THAT OTHER LEAGUE: The Cubs are 15-15 in interleague play so far this year, but have done particularly well against the A.L. East. They have 2-1 series wins against all three A.L. East teams they have played so far: Rays (May 29-31), Orioles (June 16-18) and Yankees (July 7-9).
- OTHER MISCELLANEOUS FIRST-HALF CUBS SPLITS: Day games: 18-24, night games 24-23. Against N.L. East: 6-13, against N.L. Central: 12-11, against N.L. West: 9-8, against A.L. East: 6-3, against A.L. Central: 2-4, against A.L. West, 6-8. On grass fields: 41-43, on turf fields 1-4. Against RH starters: 27-36, against LH starters, 15-11. One-run games: 9-12. Extra-inning games: 2-2.
Here are today’s particulars.
Red Sox lineup:
Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. Brayan Bello, RHP
The Cubs are doing exactly what I hoped with the rotation — starting Kyle Hendricks on normal rest tonight, following up with Marcus Stroman and Justin Steele, then giving Drew Smyly and Jameson Taillon more rest and starting them against the Nationals.
Hendricks has been very, very good over his last few starts, until he ran out of gas in the sixth inning against the Yankees Sunday and allowed a pair of home runs. Still, over his last eight starts: 2.76 ERA, 0.959 WHIP, only eight walks in 49 innings.
Kyle has faced the Red Sox once, and that was six years ago, so largely irrelevant. The current Red Sox he has faced who have done well against him are Adam Duvall (5-for-18, a home run) and Justin Turner (4-for-14, two home runs).
Brayan Bello has made 14 starts for the Red Sox this year and posted good numbers: 3.04 ERA, 2.9 bWAR. The numbers are even better over his last nine starts: 2.22 ERA, 1.024 WHIP, .202 opponents BA.
He has never faced the Cubs, and the only Cub who has ever faced him did so just once: Trey Mancini, a strikeout.
Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. You can find out if Marquee is available via a provider in your area here.
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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.