The Chicago Cubs will try to bounce back from their first loss in more than a week when they host the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday afternoon in the second part of a three-game series at Wrigley Field.
A 3-2 loss on Friday afternoon snapped a six-game winning streak for Chicago (49-36) [url=http://www.officialbluejackets.com/authentic-adidas-artemi-panarin-jersey]Artemi Panarin Jersey[/url] , which failed to score five-plus runs for the first time in nine games. The Cubs are 3-7 against the Reds this season.
Meanwhile, Cincinnati (39-49) will try to keep up its recent hot streak. The Reds have won two straight, five of six and 14 of 18 to rewrite the narrative on a miserable start to the season.
Cubs right-hander Tyler Chatwood (3-5, 4.54 ERA) is scheduled to make his 16th start. He does not have a victory in his past eight outings and is seeking his first win since May 11.
Control has been a problem for Chatwood, who leads the big leagues with 66 walks in 73 1/3 innings. He hopes for better results and his first win against Cincinnati, against whom he is 0-4 with a 4.18 ERA in five career starts. He has walked 17 and struck out 17 in 23 2/3 innings against the Reds.
Meanwhile, Cincinnati will counter with right-hander Matt Harvey (4-5, 4.91), who will make his 15th start of the season and his 11th with the Reds. The 29-year-old has found confidence since arriving from the New York Mets, limiting opponents to two runs or fewer in each of his past three outings.
“It’s nice to finally get into a groove, get into a rhythm, know I can get out of jams when I need to and also be able to go deep into games with consistent velocity and good stuff,” Harvey said recently to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “When you start feeling healthy, the confidence comes back, for sure.”
Harvey’s renewed effectiveness could make him a trade candidate for an eager contender.
In five career starts against the Cubs [url=http://www.officialbluejackets.com/authentic-adidas-cam-atkinson-jersey]Cam Atkinson Jersey Kids[/url] , including three at Wrigley Field, Harvey has posted a 2-1 record with a 4.23 ERA. He has walked eight and whiffed 28 in 27 2/3 innings.
Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, who has been on the disabled list since June 23 because of inflammation in his left shoulder, is nearing a return as the weekend approaches. He said he felt good after taking swings in the batting cage Friday, which pleased team president Theo Epstein and others.
“The shoulder, it’s an important joint for the swing, and his swing, and the finish he has,” Epstein said to the team’s official website. “I don’t know that we expected it to (take) this long, but it’s certainly very legitimate, and he needs to be able to execute his swing. I’m glad today is a good day, and hopefully we’ll have him back sometime soon.
“He really wants to be out there, but any time you have an injury you feel on your swing, you have to be smart about it. He’s been smart about it. He wants to be out there contributing. The fact that guys have stepped up and won some games makes it a little bit easier.”
Just stepping into the batter’s box to face good friend and former teammate Max Scherzer was a special occasion for Rick Porcello.
A career American League pitcher with 35 plate appearances on his resume going up against a three-time Cy Young Award-winner had mismatch written all over it. Instead, Porcello hit a three-run double off Scherzer that set the stage for the Boston Red Sox beating the Washington Nationals 4-3 in the opener of their three-game interleague series Monday night.
”I got lucky [url=http://www.officialcanadiensprostore.com/authentic-adidas-paul-byron-jersey]Womens Paul Byron Jersey[/url] ,” Porcello said. ”He got to the top of his windup and I told myself, `Start swinging.’ Then I hit it.”
Porcello’s first major league extra-base hit came in the second inning on an 0-2 pitch after the Nationals intentionally walked Jackie Bradley Jr. to pitch to him. His .156 batting average and limited hitting experience made it appear to be the right calculation, but Porcello drove Scherzer’s 96 mph fastball over the head of Juan Soto in left center for his first RBIs since 2009.
”You don’t hit for an entire year,” said Porcello, who came in with five hits and two RBIs in his career. ”You don’t even know what it’s going to look like once you step in there. I was thinking swing the bat and be competitive up there. You just never know what’s going to happen because you don’t do it very often.”
Scherzer and Porcello were teammates for five seasons with the Detroit Tigers and are still close. Because of that, Scherzer wasn’t surprised by Porcello’s hitting stroke.
”I know he can hit,” Scherzer said. ”Give him a couple sliders to keep him off balance and then was trying to get a fastball up and away and it ran back middle-in. Anybody can hit middle-in. He can do that. I’ve seen him do it.”
On the mound, Porcello (10-3) struck out five and limited the damage to solo home runs by Anthony Rendon and Daniel Murphy. Scherzer (10-5) struck out nine and kept the Red Sox off the board except for Porcello’s bases-clearing double and became the 11th pitcher to reach 1,000 strikeouts with two different teams.
When Scherzer exited the game after 108 pitches, Mookie Betts provided the Red Sox with their insurance run with a solo shot off Brandon Kintzler in the seventh, his 21st home run of the season. Bryce Harper hit his 21st in the eighth, but Boston’s bullpen held on to hand the Nationals their 16th loss in 24 one-run games.
”Go out there and try to win ballgames and they all feel the same to me,” Harper said as Washington fell to 42-41, seven games back of NL East-leading Atlanta. ”I mean we lose the game, you’re a loser. Win the game [url=http://www.officialcanadiensprostore.com/authentic-adidas-phillip-danault-jersey]Phillip Danault Jersey[/url] , you’re a winner.”
Craig Kimbrel got into some trouble but picked up four outs for his 25th save in 27 chances.
Harper is doing just fine in center field but on Monday fielded some grounders at first base. It’s just experimental for now but could help the Nationals out down the line.
”I don’t ever know if he’ll ever start a game there, but I believe that if we’re in a pinch and we’ve got to make some kind of decisions in-game, he probably could play there,” manager Davey Martinez said.
PUERTO RICO PRIDE
Martinez and Red Sox manager Alex Cora were never on the same team but knew each other well from their playing days. They exchanged lineup cards as two managers of Puerto Rican descent in the series opener, a special moment and occasion for them and their country.
”It’s good for Puerto Rico,” Martinez said. ”We feel blessed and we’re happy we got the opportunity to do what we do.”
Red Sox: RHP Steven Wright (left knee inflammation) received a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection, a day after throwing a short bullpen session. Cora said Wright could return before the All-Star break. . 2B Dustin Pedroia (left knee inflammation) will remain in New York all week. . Cora said RHP Tyler Thornburg (shoulder surgery) will most likely be activated from the disabled list during this series.
Nationals: 1B Ryan Zimmerman (right oblique strain) took part in a simulated game as he prepares to try to play in a game for the first time since May. … Martinez said C Matt Wieters (left hamstring strain) will go on a minor-league rehab assignment Tuesday at Double-A Harrisburg after reporting significant progress in the simulated game and could be activated as soon as Wednesday.
Boston LHP Brian Johnson (1-2, 4.28 ERA), who is 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA in three career interleague appearances, faces Washington for the first time. RHP Tanner Roark (3-9, 4.10 ERA) pitches for the Nationals in his first career start against the Red Sox.
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