This one will not be easy.
- CUBS, STILL HOT: Despite losing the first two games in the current series to the Mets, the Cubs’ 28-15 (.651) record since April 29 is the best in the NL and third-best in the majors behind the Rays (30-13/.698) and the White Sox (30-15/.667) in that span.
- CUBS, STILL HOMERING: The Cubs’ 91 home runs this season are tied for third-most in the NL with the Reds and very close behind the Giants (94) and Braves (93).
- CLOSING TIME: Craig Kimbrel has limited opponents to a .109 BA (10-for-92), a .186 OBP and a .349 OPS this season. He’s walked nine and struck out 45 in 27⅓ innings, good for an average of 14.82 strikeouts per nine innings.
- WHO’S ON THIRD? The Cubs have used six third basemen this season. They have combined to hit .289 (68-for-235) with 17 home runs, 46 RBI and a .932 OPS. The six: Kris Bryant, Patrick Wisdom, Matt Duffy, David Bote, Sergio Alcántara and Eric Sogard.
Here are today’s particulars.
The Cubs lineup was not available at posting time. Please check the BCB Twitter feed for the Cubs lineup. The roster move to make room for tonight’s starter, Robert Stock, was also not available. It’ll be posted as soon as it is.
— New York Mets (@Mets) June 16, 2021
Robert Stock, RHP vs. Jacob deGrom, RHP
Why even play this game? I mean, a journeyman 31-year-old minor leaguer making his first MLB start (after 52 relief appearances) against a MLB star who’s having an otherworldly season?
On paper, this might be the biggest Cubs pitching mismatch in years.
But they don’t play the games on paper.
Robert Stock throws hard. His fastball can touch 101 miles per hour, and per Fangraphs, that fastball averages 97 in his previous MLB games. The Cubs haven’t had a starter like that in… well, maybe ever. He’s likely not going deep into this game, he’s maxed out at 66 pitches at Triple-A Iowa this year. If he can throw four or five decent innings he’ll have done his job.
He has never faced the Mets. A couple of the current Mets have a handful of at-bats against him. Perhaps the unfamiliarity will help Stock tonight.
There’s really no need for me to delve deep into Jacob deGrom’s numbers here — you likely have already heard most of them, and they’re utterly ridiculous. Interestingly, of the seven runs (four earned) he’s allowed this year, three of them are on home runs, hit by Jazz Chisholm Jr., Raimel Tapia and Ryan McMahon.
Over his last four starts, he’s walked one (!) and struck out 38 (!) in 24 innings. The Cubs are a strikeout-prone team… yikes.
But let me point out here that deGrom, historically, has not been successful against the Cubs. He has made nine career starts vs. the Cubs and posted a 3.30 ERA — that sounds decent, but it’s his fourth-worst against any team he’s faced more than once. In addition, the Mets have won only two of those nine starts.
Lastly, two Cubs have hit him quite well: Kris Bryant (6-for-17, .353, two home runs) and Anthony Rizzo (10-for-23, .435, a double, a home run).
deGrom is really, really, REALLY good. Granted and stipulated. Personally, I don’t think he’s historically amazingly good, although…
Since 1920, there have been 340,000 instances of a pitcher throwing 40+ innings in a 10 appearance span.
Here they are graphed by strikeout percentage (up = more K’s) and WHIP (left = fewer baserunners).
Jacob deGrom (orange star), is on one of the most dominant stretches ever. pic.twitter.com/IjIt2eDPUW
— Jeremy Frank (@MLBRandomStats) June 16, 2021
Reversion to the mean is likely to happen to him at some point, like it does eventually for everyone in baseball. Maybe tonight’s the night.
Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. Here’s a list of providers currently carrying Marquee.
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The 2021 Game Thread procedure will be a bit different than previous years. It will be 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.