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Chicago Cubs vs. Kansas City Royals preview, Friday 8/18, 1:20 CT

The Cubs open a weekend set vs. the visitors from K.C.

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Friday notes...

  • ONE-RUN GAMES: Thanks to Christopher Morel’s three-run walk-off homer Wednesday, the Cubs now are 14-14 in games decided by one run. They began the season 2-10. The Cubs were 26-27 in close games last year, 24-27 in 2021, 10-9 in 2020, 19-27 in 2019 and 26-25 in 2018, for a six-season total, including this year, of 119-129. They were 26-17 in 2017 and 34-21 in 2015. In 2016, while winning 103 games, they were just 22-23. Since 2000, the Cubs are 523-580-1 in one-run games, a .474 winning percentage. In all other games, they are 1,342-1,297, .509. (Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)
  • GOOD PITCHING: Mark Leiter Jr., last 16 appearances since July 17: 0.61 ERA, 0.682 WHIP, 15 strikeouts in 14⅔ innings.
  • GOOD HITTING: Nico Hoerner has reached base in 14 consecutive games, in which he has batted .327/.431/.509 (18-for-55) with four doubles, two home runs, five stolen bases and 13 runs scored.
  • BIRTHDAY GREETINGS: Happy birthday to Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki, who turns 29 today.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Royals lineup:

Jameson Taillon, RHP vs. Cole Ragans, LHP

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s just ignore that game Jameson Taillon threw last Sunday in Toronto, shall we?

All right. You can’t. It happened. Even with that, though, Taillon still has a 3.79 ERA and 1.190 WHIP over his last seven starts, and those are decent enough numbers.

He’s going to need to step up, though, over the season’s last six weeks. The last time he faced the Royals, July 28, 2022, he threw six shutout innings. Many of those hitters are gone from K.C., though — current Royals are just 3-for-10 against him.

Step up, Jamo.

Cole Ragans was the Rangers’ first-round pick (30th overall) in 2016 out of high school in Florida and came to the Royals June 30 as part of the deal that sent Aroldis Chapman to Texas.

Ragans faced six Cubs as a Ranger April 7 at Wrigley Field, and three of those Cubs aren’t on the team anymore! (Trey Mancini, Eric Hosmer and Miles Mastrobuoni.) So we can’t make any real judgments from that. Ragans didn’t throw well in relief in Texas, but in four starts with the Royals has posted a 2.38 ERA and 1.324 WHIP in 22⅔ innings, which is pretty decent. Throws hard, with a fastball at 96.

The Cubs have hit LHP pretty well this year, so go do your thing, Cubs hitters.


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 Royals market territories.)

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Royals site Royals Review. If you do go there to interact with Royals 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.