As I mentioned on Twitter earlier today (you do follow me on Twitter, right?), having won last night’s opening game, the Cubs now find themselves in a sticky (albeit enviable) position.
On the one hand, a win tonight would guarantee the Cubs’ first series victory in their past three tries, but a loss, on the other hand, means a rubber match against Madison Bumgarner in San Francisco. Now, I know Bumgarner hasn’t quite been himself this season and the Giants have not been very good, but that’s not a game you want to go into with “must-win” on the mind.
Fortunately, the Bumgarner isn’t pitching tonight. Ty Blach is and he’s a much more beatable pitcher. Through 18 starts this season, Blach has been able to strike batters out at just a minuscule 11.9% rate. Sure, his walk rate is pretty low (5.2%), but that’s not a desirable trade-off. He does seem to be pretty good at getting ground balls, though, so hopefully the Cubs can elevate some baseballs and jump ahead early.
But before you go licking your chops too soon, you should know that Blach last start was a bonafide gem: 8.0 IP, 6H, 2ER, 1BB, 4Ks. And he preceded that one with another 7.0 innings two earned run performance against the mighty Dodgers.
He’s still a Major Leaguer, folks.
But so is Jose Quintana, and although he was blown up a bit the last time out, I have faith that he’ll bounce right back into the starter we all know he is.
And for what it’s worth with two lefties on the mound tonight:
2017 wRC+ Against LHP:
Chicago Cubs: 113 wRC+ (4th in MLB)
San Francisco Giants: 83 wRC+ (26th)
It’s an even later one tonight, friends, so break out that coffee and cheer on those Cubbies.
Chicago Cubs (59-52) at San Francisco Giants (44-70) – 9:15 CT on CSN, MLBN (out of market), 670 The Score
Game Thread and Series Preview
Your game thread is down in the comments, so let’s have some good, clean (safe-for-work) fun today.
Cubs: Jose Quintana (R): 4.42 ERA, 4.03 FIP, 3.91 xFIP; 3.04 K/BB
Giants: Ty Blach (L): 4.24 ERA, 3.89 FIP, 4.75 xFIP; 2.31 K/BB
San Francisco Giants:
- Gorkys Hernandez, CF
- Miguel Gomez, 2B
- Hunter Pence, RF
- Buster Posey, 1B
- Nick Hundley, C
- Brandon Crawford, SS
- Jarrett Parker, LF
- Kelby Tomlinson, 3B
- Ty Blach, P
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Jon Jay, LF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Willson Contreras, C
- Ian Happ, 2B
- Albert Almora Jr., CF
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Javy Baez, SS
- Jose Quintana, P