- GETTING AHEAD, STAYING AHEAD: Friday night’s win was the Cubs’ 24th among their 60 so far this year in which they never trailed. It was the ninth of those in which they scored in the first inning. They broke a scoreless tie in the second inning of six games, in the third inning of six more, in the fourth inning of two others and in the eighth inning of one game. In each of the Cubs’ last three wire-to-wire wins, they have scored multiple runs in the first: three on July 27, five on August 5 and three last night. (Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)
- STILL EN FUEGO: Cody Bellinger, last 27 games since July 14: .394/.430/.702 (41-for-104) with five doubles, nine home runs, 29 RBI and 22 runs scored. He’s one PA short of qualifying, so should be a qualified hitter after today’s game. When he is, his BA will rank fourth in the N.L., his OPS fifth and SLG sixth.
- RUN DIFFERENTIAL UPDATE: The Cubs’ +70 run differential ranks third in the N.L. behind only the Braves (+170) and Dodgers (+123).
- THAT OTHER LEAGUE: The win last night improved the Cubs’ interleague record to 19-17, and 8-5 vs. A.L. East teams.
- BIRTHDAY GREETINGS: Happy birthday to Cubs left fielder Ian Happ, who turns 29 today.
Here are today’s particulars.
Blue Jays lineup:
NOTE: Since the Jays say their pregame ceremonies begin at 3 p.m. ET (2 p.m. CT), this game might start a bit late.
Justin Steele, LHP vs. Chris Bassitt, RHP
Justin Steele has been quite consistent all year, and his ERA has been helped out by two after-the-fact scoring changes:
CHANGE 127— MLB Scoring Changes (@ScoringChanges) August 1, 2023
7/16 @RedSox at @Cubs
T5 the double for Connor Wong has been changed to an error charged to Nico Hoerner. As a result, all 5 runs scored in the inning have been changed to unearned against Justin Steele
Change 5 for CHC#DirtyWater #NextStartsHere pic.twitter.com/o0G8a8YZt5
CHANGE 133— MLB Scoring Changes (@ScoringChanges) August 7, 2023
8/1 @Reds at @Cubs
T5 Nick Senzel reaches on an error by third baseman Nick Madrigal, instead of on a single. As a result, the run that scored in the inning is now unearned for pitcher Justin Steele, instead of earned
Change 7 for CHC#ATOBTTR #NextStartsHere pic.twitter.com/4hBoxzFPm7
Those two changes — and I agree with both — dropped six runs off Steele’s earned runs total. Without those changes Steele’s ERA would be 3.12 instead of 2.68, a significant difference.
Anyway. Steele has had some recent starts that can be described as “rocky,” but he almost always seems to get himself out of jams.
Steele has never faced the Blue Jays and only two current Jays have faced him. Paul DeJong is 3-for-8.
Chris Bassitt has had a decent year in Toronto, roughly comparable to the year he had in 2022 with the Mets.
The Cubs faced him last year at Wrigley Field, but most of those guys aren’t on the team anymore. New Cubs (this year) Cody Bellinger and Dansby Swanson have both homered off Bassitt.
He’s got quite the pitch selection — so many that it actually goes off the bottom of the chart below.
Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. You can find out if Marquee is available via a provider in your area here. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Mets market territories).
Please visit our SB Nation Blue Jays site Bluebird Banter. If you do go there to interact with Jays 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.