- THAT OTHER LEAGUE: Today is the first of 11 consecutive games the Cubs will play against American League teams (Blue Jays, 3; White Sox, 2; Royals, 3; Tigers, 3), and that will complete the Cubs’ interleague schedule for 2023. To date, the Cubs are 18-17 vs. A.L. teams, and 7-5 vs. A.L. East teams.
- THE CLOSE ONES: After their 4-3 loss on Wednesday, the Cubs are 12-14 for the year in one-run games. That .462 winning percentage ranks 19th among all 30 teams, and 11th among the 15 in the National League. The Diamondbacks and Nationals (both .452, 14-17) are right below the Cubs. The Padres (.250, 6-18) and Cardinals (.281, 9-23) are the lowest overall. The Marlins are best, at .722 (26-10), followed by the Brewers (.688, 22-10), Orioles (.656, 21-11), Phillies (.595, 22-15) and the Blue Jays, tonight’s opponent (.559, 19-15). (Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)
- ALMOST QUALIFIED: Cody Bellinger is batting .327/.377/.550 (104-for-318) with 18 doubles, 17 home runs and 17 stolen bases. The Cubs have played 115 games, so the number of plate appearances to qualify for the league leaders for a Cub is currently 357. Bellinger has 355 PA. After tonight that qualifying number will be 360, so if Bellinger gets five PA tonight he’ll qualify, otherwise it should happen after Saturday’s game. If Bellinger qualified as of now, his BA would be fourth in the N.L. and his SLG and OPS would rank sixth. His 3.9 bWAR ranks just below the top 10.
- EN FUEGO: Jeimer Candelario, nine games as a Cub: .485/.541/.727 (16-for-33), five doubles, a home run, eight runs scored, only four strikeouts.
- ALSO HOT: Mike Tauchman, nine games in August: .407/.500/.741 (11-for-27), three doubles, two home runs, six walks, nine runs scored.
Here are today’s particulars.
Blue Jays lineup:
Javier Assad, RHP vs. Jose Berrios, RHP
Javier Assad has been much better as a reliever this year (18 appearances, 3.06 ERA, 1.277 WHIP, three HR in 47 innings) than as a starter (two starts, 5.40 ERA, 1.800 WHIP, three HR in 6⅔ innings).
But, y’know, eventually he’s going to have to learn to do this because the Cubs need him to. Like, now. Maybe they should use an opener?
In any case, they aren’t, not tonight, anyway. The good news, perhaps, is that Assad threw five shutout innings against the Blue Jays August 29, 2022 in Toronto, his second MLB start. Another one of those, please.
It’s kind of random, but this game is a rematch of that pitching matchup last year, as Jose Berrios started that game. The Cubs scored four runs off him in 5⅔ innings, but a lot of those guys aren’t on the team anymore.
Berrios is having a good year and has been remarkably consistent, his ERA has ranged only from 3.38 to 3.86 over his last 13 starts since May 28. So you’d expect the Cubs to maybe score three in seven innings. That might be enough, but they’ll have to get better pitching.
Might have been a good day to sit Jeimer Candelario, as he’s 2-for-17 vs. Berrios with five strikeouts. Hopefully, he can break through that tonight.
Today’s game is on Apple TV+ (how to watch). This will be the Cubs’ last game on Apple TV+ this year.
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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.