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

The Cubs go for the series win.

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Sunday notes...

  • NOT WALKING ON BY: Justin Steele yesterday registered the 15th start by a Cubs pitcher this season of at least six innings with no walks. That is one more than the Cubs had in all of both 2022 and 2021. This year, Steele has done it four times; Kyle Hendricks, Drew Smyly and Hayden Wesneski, three; and Jameson Taillon, two. The Cubs have had 1,813 such starts since 1901, by 253 different starters, including 364, by 56 starters, since 2000. Steele is among 17 who have done it six times. 81 have done it at least seven times, topped by five with at least 40: Grover Cleveland Alexander (67), Ferguson Jenkins (56), Greg Maddux (57), Kyle Hendricks (47) and Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown (46). Rick Reuschel just missed joining the group, with 39. (Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)
  • JUST START HIM EVERY DAY ALREADY: Mike Tauchman made his first start for the Cubs May 21 in Philadelphia. Including that game, the Cubs are 43-34 since that date. They are 34-22 in games Tauchman has started and 9-12 in games he has not started.
  • HE’S HOT (EXTENDED VERSION): Cody Bellinger, last 46 games since June 27: .394/.430/.674 (69-for-175) with 10 doubles, 13 home runs, 41 RBI and 39 runs scored.
  • STREAKING: Nico Hoerner has a 16-game on-base streak in which he is batting .349/.446/.508 (22-for-63) with four doubles, two home runs, seven stolen bases and 14 runs scored.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Royals lineup:

Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. Jordan Lyles, RHP

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
MLB photos via USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Hendricks is basically throwing at fifth-starter rate. This is fine as long as he eats up innings, which he’s doing. He’s at a career-low K rate — but also at a career-low walk rate. He just doesn’t have much margin for error.

He last faced the Royals August 4, 2020 and most of those guys are gone. Only three current Royals have ever faced him. Hopefully that will be to his advantage this afternoon.

Jordan Lyles. Oh, man, pull up a chair, do I have stuff to tell you about Jordan Lyles. He’s become the archetypical inning eater in MLB today — so much so that Lindsey Adler wrote an entire article about him doing exactly that.

But you know what, Lyles is just not a very good pitcher anymore. He is 31 innings short of qualifying for this year’s ERA title and should have at least six starts left, so it’ll be close. He’s currently sporting a 6.30 ERA. If he continues at that pace it would be the second-highest ERA from any qualified starter (in a non-strike year) since 1936. Only Jose Lima (6.99 in 2005, also for the Royals) was worse. He’s currently leading MLB in earned runs allowed (92) and the A.L. in home runs allowed (28).

He’s made 344 MLB appearances and 237 starts, throwing 1,459 innings and has never pitched in the postseason. Only three times in 13 years has he pitched for a team that finished with a winning record (2017 Rockies, 2018 Brewers, 2019 Brewers) and FIVE times he’s pitched for a team that lost 100 games (2011-12-13 Astros and 2021 Rangers), and that’s very likely going to be six after this year ends.

My friends, that is perseverance. Per his baseball-reference page he’s also made over $43 million doing all that over 13 seasons — and the Royals have him signed to eat innings again next year.

You might remember him making his MLB debut at Wrigley Field May 31, 2011 and I present that boxscore link to you for amusement value.

Oh, yes, current Cubs. Dansby Swanson and Ian Happ have homered off Lyles, for whatever that’s worth.


Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. You can find out if Marquee is available via a provider in your area here.

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.