CHC (30-21): LHP Cole Hamels (4-0, 3.38 ERA)
HOU (35-19): RHP Gerrit Cole (4-5, 4.11 ERA)
First pitch 1:10pmCDT
The Cubs leave behind the frustrating Reds' series and take their first trip to Houston since 2016. There they will face a tough Astros team that they haven't dueled since their rebuild took full effect.
Cole Hamels will lead the way for the Cubs. He was held to four innings in his last start against the Phillies as he allowed nine hits and two walks, along with six strikeouts. He still escaped his first loss of 2019 thanks to Albert Almora's grand slam and four strong relief innings from Tyler Chatwood. The match-up stats are a bit of a mixed bag. He's held Carlos Correa to 2-21 with 7 strikeouts. George Springer is 4-23 with 7 strikeouts, but he also has 3 homeruns and 7 walks.
2019 Gameday Thread
CHC (30-21): LHP Cole Hamels (4-0, 3.38 ERA)
The Cubs came up a bit short on their comeback attempt yesterday and had to accept a 2-2 split with the Phillies. They move on to greet the Reds to Wrigley for a 3-game set.
The Cubs matched up with the Reds in mid-May for a tough 1-2 series loss. Every game in that series was decided by 2 runs or fewer. The Cubs will run out an exact repeat of their starters in that series, but Tanner Roark will be the only familiar face on the other side. The Reds are well rested, having played only 5 games and having 3 days off since then. See below for the game-by-game matchups.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.