Thursday, June 13, 2024
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MLB Preview: Chicago Cubs (65-59) at Detroit Tigers (57-68)

CHICAGO CUBS NOTES:

Cubs vs. Tigers
The Cubs and Tigers this week meet for the first time since 2021, when Chicago took two of three games from Detroit at Comerica Park … since 2018, the Cubs are 6-4 vs. the Tigers after going 2-11 from 2006-15.

THE CARDIAC CUBS: The Chicago Cubs today play game two of a three-game set against the Tigers after taking game one last night, 7-6 … Chicago jumped out to a 5-2
lead before the Tigers scored three in the eighth to tie the game … the Cubs scored two in the ninth, as Nick Madrigal’s second RBI double of the game proved to be the game-winner … Seiya Suzuki homered for the second-straight game, while Daniel Palencia picked up his third win of the season and Mark Leiter Jr. recorded his fourth save.

Today marks game two (1-0) of this seven-game road trip and is the fifth (3-1) of 13-straight gamedays through Aug. 30 … the Cubs had three off days in an eight-day span through Aug. 17.

The Cubs are 9-5 in their last 14 games, 12-6 in their last 18 and 23-9 in their last 32 contests since July 18 … following play on July 20, the Cubs sat 7.0-games out of a wild-card spot and 8.5-games back of the division lead … the club enters today in the second wild card spot (0.5-game ahead of San Francisco) and 2.5-games back of division-leading Milwaukee.

This is the 13th game (7-5) in a stretch that sees Chicago play 13 of 18 games on the road through Aug. 27.

The Cubs +66 run differential ranks third in the N.L. behind the Braves (+206) and the Dodgers (+143).

TAKING THE RECORD TO NEW HEIGHTS: The Cubs yesterday improved to six games over .500 (65-59), setting the club’s best mark of the season … Chicago was previously at least six games over .500, June 27, 2021, when they fell to 42-36 with a 7-1 loss to the Dodgers.

SEIYA LATER!: Seiya Suzuki has homered in back-to-back games for the third time this season (last May 16-17 at Houston) … he has hit five home runs in 13 August games after hitting five in his previous 59 games combined from May 17-July 31 … his five home runs in August are tied for the team-lead, while his 15 RBI rank second.

Suzuki since Aug. 9 has hit safely in eight of his nine games, batting .361 (13- for-36) with one double, one triple, five home runs and seven RBI.

His 97 hits, 13 home runs and 50 RBI this season are approaching his season-marks from 2022 (104 hits, 14 home runs, 54 RBI).

NICK COMING UP CLUTCH: Nick Madrigal yesterday recorded his second-career game-winning hit in the ninth inning (also April 24, 2021 vs. Texas – walk-off double) … yesterday he had two doubles, the third time in his career he has had multiple extra-base hits in the same game (last May 17, 2021 at Minnesota).

Madrigal in 32 games since June 11, is batting .313 (31-for-99) with nine doubles, two home runs and 13 RBI.

SAVED BY THE BELL-INGER: Cody Bellinger, July’s N.L. Player of the Month, this season is batting .322 (113-for-351) with 20 doubles, one triple, 20 homers, 65 RBI and 17 stolen bases … Bellinger and Atlanta’s Ronald Acuña Jr. are the only major leaguers to have at least a .322 average, 20 home runs and 17 stolen bases this season. © Bellinger’s .322 average ranks fifth in the N.L. while his .556 slugging percentage is sixth and his .925 OPS is seventh.

He is just the second Cub since 1981 to primarily play center field and reach 20 homers in a season, joining Corey Patterson (24 HR in 2004).

SLAM THE DOOR: Adbert Alzolay has converted his last 14 save chances since July 5, the most in the majors during that stretch … the 14-straight converted save opportunities are the most by a Cub since Craig Kimbrel converted 16 consecutive save chances May 18-July 25, 2021.

Alzolay’s 18 saves on the season are the 10th most in the N.L.

The righthander has walked eight batters in 55.2 IP in 2023, good for an average of 1.29 walks per 9.0 IP, the fewest among N.L. pitchers and second-fewest in the majors (min. 40 G).

‘PENNING SOME THOUGHTS: The Cubs bullpen has posted a 3.98 season ERA (194 ER/438.2 IP), while its 438.2 innings pitched are third-fewest in the N.L. … just Philadelphia (415.2 IP) and Milwaukee (425.2 IP) have needed fewer innings from its bullpens.

Daniel Palencia in his 13th appearance of the season yesterday improved to 3-0, tied for the second-most wins among Cubs relievers.

Mark Leiter Jr.’s 23 holds are tied for the second-most in the N.L. and tied for the fifth-most in the majors.

Julian Merryweather since July 22 has pitched to a 1.98 ERA (3 ER/13.2 IP) in 12 appearances.

INTERLEAGUE INTERLUDE: Today is the 10th (6-3) of 11-straight games against the American League, a stretch that started with series in Toronto (2-1) and at home vs. the White Sox (1-1) and Royals (2-1).

Chicago is 9-4 in its last 13 interleague contests since July 15 and is 24-20 against the A.L. this season … the last season in which Chicago had a winning record against the A.L. was in 2020 (12-8).

The Cubs have scored 217 runs in interleague play this season (4.9 runs per game), the second-most in the majors, trailing Atlanta (222).

RISPY BUSINESS: The Cubs yesterday went 4-for-11 (.364) with runners in scoring position and since the All-Star break, have hit .291 (95-for-326) with runners in scoring position, the fourth-highest average in the N.L. and fifth in the majors during that span.

Chicago’s .268 average (294-for-1,095) with runners in scoring position this season ranks fourth in the N.L. while the club’s 436 RBI with RISP ranks third.

Starting Pitcher #11 LHP Drew Smyly (9-8, 4.92)
Last Time Out
Drew made his fifth relief appearance of the season Aug. 18 vs. Kansas City … pitched a scoreless ninth inning … is 2-0 with a 4.09 ERA (5 ER/11.0 IP) as a reliever this season.

Date Opp. Result IP H R ER BB SO PC-S Left
8/18 KC ND, 3-4 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 9-7 3-4

2023 Splits and Season Notes
W-L ERA G GS IP H R ER BB SO
Home 4-3 6.04 13 10 56.2 60 39 38 13 61
Road 5-5 3.94 13 11 64.0 65 33 28 27 51
AVG vs. LHB: .327 (36-for-110) / AVG vs. RHB: .246 (89-for-362)

Drew will make his 26th appearance of the season (22nd start), his 14th appearance (12th start) on the road … is scheduled to make his first start since Aug. 7 …. tossed three scorelees outings as a reliever from Aug. 13-18 (3.0 IP) … has pitched to a 7.35 ERA (40 ER/49.0 IP) in his last 13 games (eight starts) since June 14 … began the season with a 3.27 ERA (26 ER/71.2 IP) in his first 13 starts … began his career with the Tigers (2012-14), going 16-12 with a 3.53 ERA (110 ER/280.2 IP) in 107 games (36 starts), including 7-8 with a 3.64 ERA (59 ER/146.0 IP) in 53 games (19 starts) at Comerica Park … opposing batters are hitting .224 (55-for-246) with 79 strikeouts against his curveball.

Pitched a combined 8.0 innings out of the bullpen in two outings July 22-28, posting a 5.63 ERA (5 ER/8.0 IP) while striking out 11 batters.

Recorded his 1000th career strikeout in the second inning (Kiner-Falefa looking) July 8 at New York (A.L.).

Completed his 1000th career inning in the first inning May 28 vs. Cincinnati.

Allowed two-or-fewer runs in nine-straight starts from April 10-May 27, posting a 2.13 ERA (12 ER/50.2 IP) during the run, the fourth-lowest ERA in the majors (min. 9 GS).

April 21 vs. Los Angeles (N.L.) retired the first 21 batters of the game, becoming the first Cub to take a perfect game bid into the eighth inning since José Guzmán (April 6, 1993 vs. Atlanta) … was the first Cub to record a start of 7.0-plus innings with one hit, no runs, no walks and at least 10 strikeouts since Kerry Wood’s 20-strikeout game (May 6, 1998 vs. Houston).

Went 0-2 with a 6.06 ERA (11 ER/16.1 IP) with a 13:2 SO:BB ratio during Cactus League play.

DETROIT TIGERS NOTES:

TIGERS DROP SERIES OPENER TO CUBS: The Tigers rallied late to tie last night’s game, but ended up losing, 7-6. Spencer Torkelson had four hits, including a double and a solo home run, while Kerry Carpenter went 3×5 with a double and a solo shot. Javier Baez notched the 200th double of his big league career and drove in two runs. Alex Faedo turned in a quality start for the Tigers, giving up four runs, two earned, on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts in 6.0 innings. Brendan White struck out one in a scoreless inning in relief.

FOUR-HIT TORK: Spencer Torkelson continued his impressive stretch at the plate last night, recording the second four-hit game of his career (other, August 12 at Bosto), finishing the game 4×5 with a double and a solo home run, his team-leading 23rd of the season. Over his last nine games, Torkelson has gone 15×33 with four
doubles, six home runs and eight RBI. Since June 27, he ranks second in the American League with 15 home runs, while he is fifth with 35 RBI and seventh with a .602 slugging percentage.

CARPENTER NAILS ANOTHER ONE: Kerry Carpenter homered for the third straight game last night, blasting a solo shot in the sixth, his 19th of the season and his eighth during August, which is tied for the American League lead. He has reached base safely in a career-best 18 straight games, which is tied for the fourth-longest active on-base streak in the AL. Over his last 18 games, he is batting .394/.444/.818 with four doubles, eight home runs and 13 RBI.

WELCOME TO THE SHOW: Parker Meadows made his Major League debut last night, starting in center field and going 1×5. Meadows recorded his first big league hit with a single in the sixth inning. He became the first Tigers position player to debut this season and the fourth overall.

AT COMERICA PARK: The Tigers tonight begin a 10-game homestand, which includes three games vs. Chicago (NL) (0-1), three games vs. Houston (August 25-27) and four games vs. New York (AL) (August 28-31). Detroit is 26-34 at Comerica Park this season. As a team, the Tigers are hitting .247/.310/.383 at home, while the pitching staff has a 4.68 ERA (550.0IP/286ER).

TIGERS AND CUBS: The Tigers and Cubs continue their only series of the season tonight. The two teams last met in 2021 with Chicago (NL) winning two-of-three games. Detroit has a 20-12 advantage in the all-time series, including a 9-8 edge at Comerica Park.

INTERLEAGUE ACTION: The Tigers continue their interleague schedule tonight against the Cubs. Detroit is 18-20 against National League foes this season, including a 6-5 record against NL Central teams. The Tigers have finished with a winning record against NL opponents in each of the last two seasons.

TIGERS ON THE IL:

  • LHP Tyler Alexander (left lat/shoulder strain, 60-day IL on July 4, retroactive to July 3)
  • LHP Matthew Boyd (left elbow sprain, 60-day IL on June 27)
  • RHP Mason Englert (left hip tightness, 15-day IL on July 24, retroactive to July 23)
  • OF Austin Meadows (anxiety, 60-day IL on April 8, retroactive to April 7)
  • RHP Casey Mize (right elbow sprain, 60-day IL on February 17)
  • RHP Freddy Pacheco (right elbow sprain, 60-day IL on March 27)
  • RHP Spencer Turnbull (neck discomfort, 60-day IL on May 12, retroactive to May 7)

TONIGHT’S TIGERS STARTING PITCHER

45 Reese Olson • 2-5, 4.83 ERA (63.1IP/34ER)

2023 Regular Season L/R Splits
Split PA K% BB% HR% OPS WHIP FIP
vs. LHH 120 24.2 11.7 2.5 .719 1.44 3.96
vs. RHH 147 21.8 2.0 4.1 .689 1.07 3.75
Lg. Avg. — 22.7 8.5 3.2 .734 1.31 4.17

  • Olson will make the 15th appearance and 12th start of his Major League career tonight against Chicago (NL).
  • Did not factor into the decision in his last start on Wednesday at Minnesota, allowing four runs on eight hits with a walk and three strikeouts in 2.2 innings. • Will be making his first career appearance against the Cubs tonight… in eight career outings, including six starts, at Comerica Park, he has a 2-3 record with a 4.78 ERA (37.2IP/20ER) and 40 strikeouts.
  • Earned his first big league win on June 24 vs. Minnesota, allowing one run on four hits with a walk and nine strikeouts in 5.1 innings… became the 11th Tigers pitcher since 1901 to strike out nine-or-more batters in one of his first five Major League games (last, Tyler Alexander, July 27, 2019 at Seattle).
  • Made his Major League debut on June 2 at Chicago (AL), allowing two runs on two hits with one walk and six strikeouts in 5.0 innings… carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning until allowing a single to Romy Gonzalez…according to the Elias Sports Bureau, he became the first Tigers pitcher to throw at least 5.0 no-hit innings in his debut since Bill Slayback pitched 7.0 hitless innings on June 26, 1972 vs. New York (AL).
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