Happy Doubleheader Day!
Thanks to Monday’s rainout, the Cubs and Padres will play twice today, first at 12:05pm CT, and then again at 7:05pm CT. Unless, I guess, the first game is still going on at that time. It would be pretty awesome if they had to start the second game and play it together with the conclusion of the first game, all at the same time, though, wouldn’t it? (“Wait! Which pitch am I supposed to swing at!? Is that one for me or for him?!?”)
The Cubs have won eight in a row – barely even feels like it, does it? – and have started the season an incredible 25-6. That’s tied for the best start in franchise history (1907), and with a win in the first game today, these Cubs can set a new mark. They’d also be 20 games over .500 at that point, something they did not accomplish last year until August 23. And that was a team that won 97 games!
The Cubs have built an 8.5 game lead in the NL Central, and have five fewer losses than the next best team in baseball (the White Sox).
It always seems tough to sweep a doubleheader, but that’s mostly because, in baseball, it’s tough to win two games in a row – I’m not sure the old truism about doubleheaders being especially difficult is actually borne out by the data. At least the Cubs will have the home-field advantage, which does seem to help in doubleheaders (playing two in a day far away from home simply seems like more of a pain in the butt than doing it at home – and these guys are all human beings, so it makes sense to me).
Because it’s a doubleheader day for the Cubs, they’ll get a 26th player for the two games. Given how much the bullpen was used yesterday, I’m guessing it will be a pitcher, though Spencer Patton just pitched yesterday for the Iowa Cubs. Among the Cubs’ other healthy 40-man options: Carl Edwards, Jr., C.J. Riefenhauser, and Giovanni Soto.
If the Cubs prefer to add a position player, I’d imagine it would be Munenori Kawasaki.
Kyle Hendricks will start for the Cubs in game one, and John Lackey goes in game two.