2019 Gameday Thread

Cubs vs. Phillies: Lester vs. Nola (Game 48)

CHC: LHP Jon Lester (3-2, 2.09 ERA)
PHL: RHP Aaron Nola (4-0, 4.47 ERA)
First pitch 1:20pmCDT

The Cubs hitched their wagon to a pair of big homeruns for last night's 8-4 win. Today they send Jon Lester to the hill to lock down a series victory. Lester was thoroughly out-pitched by Strasburg on Saturday when I had the privilege of attending a fairly uneventful Cubs' loss in DC. He got knocked around for 10 hits and 5 runs in 4.1 innings, easily his worst start of the season. As worst starts go, it's the least bad worst start of any Cubs' starter! Hence, he has maintained an ERA just over 2. Current Phillies have seen him for 162 ABs and earned an OPS of .738 during that time. Sean Rodriguez has 55 of those ABs, with 12 hits, 3 of which were homeruns. McCutchen is 7-32 with 2 HRs. Harper is 3-10 with 6 strikeouts.

Cubs vs. Phillies: Quintana vs. Eflin (Game 46)

CHC (27-18): LHP José Quintana (4-3, 3.68 ERA)
PHL (28-19): RHP Zach Eflin (5-4, 2.89 ERA)
First pitch 6:05pmCDT

After dropping the series opener in the 10th, the Cubs send José Quintana to the mound against the Phillies' best starter. Quintana has given up 2 or 3 runs in each of his last 5 starts and has seen his strikeout rate drop from the early going. He's been steady but not great during that time. Former Pirates McCutchen and Sean Rodriguez are a collective 9-23 with 1 homerun off of him. Last night's Phillies hero, Hernandez, is 3-7 with a double, a triple, and two walks.

Cubs vs. Phillies: Darvish vs. Arrieta (Game 45)

CHC (27-17): RHP Yu Darvish (2-3, 5.14 ERA)
PHL (27-19): RHP Jake Arrieta (4-4, 4.02 ERA)
First pitch 7:05pmCDT

The Cubs return to Wrigley and bring a bit of the NL East with them. Darvish's last start was middling in some respects. He went 5.1 and allowed 2 earned runs on five hits against Cincinnati. But he showed his best command of 2019 and it's hard to care about anything else at this point. It's the first time he's walked fewer than 3 batters since April 10, when also allowed four earned runs and struck out only 4. His zone percentage was 47.1% compared to 40.8% on the season, and when he threw the ball out of the zone he got swings 35.2% of the time compared to 27.5% on the season. Today he'll try to establish some consistency. The current Phillies are 10-29 against him with no homeruns. Bryce Harper has never faced him.

Cubs @ Nationals Series Thread (Games 42-44)

The Cubs (25-16) continue their road trip with a swing over to the old District to take on the 4th place (?!) Nationals (18-25).

The Nats are off to a disappointing start. Losing Bryce Harper on the free agent market is only part of the explanation. Trea Turner has been on the IL since early April with a broken finger. Veterans Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Eaton have WRC+'s of 81 and 93 respectively. And the bullpen has put up an MLB worst 6.20 ERA despite being the least exposed bullpen in the majors (only 127.2 IP). In the positives column, their rotation leads the majors in strikeouts per 9 innings and Baseball Reference rates them as leading the league at 4 wins above average. Anthony Rendon also continues to be excellent at all things baseball. Check out the day-by-day matchups below.

Cubs @ Reds: Quintana vs. Castillo (Game 41)

CHC (25-15): LHP José Quintana (4-2, 3.50 ERA)
CIN (19-24): RHP Luis Castillo (4-1, 1.76 ERA)
First pitch 5:40pmCDT

Quintana looks to pick up the Cubs after last night's extra-inning loss. His first start of the year remains his lone disappointing appearance of 2019 to date. Outside of that April 5 loss to Milwaukee, he hasn't allowed more than 3 runs in a start. He's also been effective at keeping the ball on the ground, a healthy strategy for anyone pitching in the Great American Bandbox. Joey Votto is 7-14 in his career against Quintana.

Cubs @ Reds: Darvish vs. Gray (Game 40

CHC (25-14): RHP Yu Darvish (2-3, 5.40 ERA)
CIN (18-24): RHP Sonny Gray (0-4, 4.15 ERA)
First pitch 5:40pmCDT

We're roughly a quarter of the way through this season. The Cubs are in first, Bryant is back on track, Baez and Contreras still look like All-Stars, and Hendricks has found his groove.

Cubs @ Reds: Hendricks vs. Roark (Game 39)

CHC: RHP Kyle Hendricks (2-4, 3.19 ERA)
CIN: RHP Tanner Roark (3-1, 3.27 ERA)
First pitch 5:40pmCDT

Hendricks has been fantastic in his last two starts. He followed up his 81-pitch shutout with an eight inning start allowing 1 unearned run. Watch out for Joey Votto, 8-18 against Hendricks but cold to start the year.

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