CHICAGO — At times this season [url=http://www.greenbaypackersteamonline.com/customized]Customized Green Bay Packers Jerseys[/url] , the Chicago Cubs have struggled to produce offensively, especially when it comes to situational hitting that turned hits into runs.
But as the Cubs prepare to open a brief two-game series against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday at Wrigley Field, any concerns about run production seems to have subsided. At least for now.
The Cubs will carry a four-game winning streak into Tuesday after producing 46 runs during their winning streak, which they extended with an 11-10 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.
Although the bullpen struggled to protect leads at times, the Cubs’ bats did more than their fair share. Now, the Cubs will attempt to remain hot against the Tigers, who have won two straight but have lost 11 of their last 13 games.
The Tigers beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 on Monday.
After Sunday’s victory, the Cubs found themselves leading the majors in hitting (.266) and on-base percentage (.345). Despite the times this season when the hits weren’t coming, the Cubs haven’t experienced any change in confidence now that they’re averaging more than 10 per game in their last four games.
“We’ve been the same offense for quite some time now,” Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber said Sunday, according to the Chicago Tribune. “Things happen. We’re just going to keep this going.”
Cubs pitchers have enjoyed plenty of run support of late, which is something Tuesday’s starter, Kyle Hendricks, wouldn’t mind seeing continue against the Tigers. Hendricks (5-8, 4.21 ERA) has experienced inconsistency this season and has battled his mechanics all the way through.
Hendricks went 1-4 in June and is coming off an outing in which he allowed a season-worst six runs in just 2 2/3 innings on June 27 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
He hopes to right the ship in a new month against a team that has struggled offensively during their recent skid. Hendricks will face the Tigers for the first time in his career.
“I’m just searching right now — it’s just bad,” Hendricks told reporters after his last start, according to the team’s official website. “Mechanics [url=http://www.officialmapleleafsproshop.com/authentic-adidas-james-van-riemsdyk-jersey]http://www.officialmapleleafsproshop.com/authentic-adidas-james-van-riemsdyk-jersey[/url] , I’m trying to focus mentally and going pitch to pitch and I’m doing that, but something’s just off. I’m searching now.”
The Tigers’ back-to-back victories come after their losing streak reached a season-high 11 games. With Miguel Cabrera out for the season and other veterans like Victor Martinez struggling at the plate, manager Ron Gardenhire has been forced to work with a lineup full of young hitters.
Before snapping the skid with a victory Sunday over the Blue Jays, the Tigers finished June hitting .222.
“We’ve had a lot of struggles offensively, for sure,” Gardenhire said Sunday, according to the Detroit Free Press. “I think our pitching has held up OK. (The) bullpen had its good and bad moments. Offensively, we’ve really scuffled, especially the past couple week here. We all know that. Offensively, we have to get a lot better. More consistently.”
On Monday, the Tigers placed closer Shane Greene on the 10-day disabled list with a right shoulder strain. Joe Jimenez, who is considered the Tigers’ closer of the future, will move into the role for the time being, Gardenhire said. Jiménez has a 2.77 ERA, 44 strikeouts and nine walks in 42 appearances covering 39 innings.
Michael Fulmer (3-7, 4.20) will start Tuesday for the Tigers. Like Hendricks, Fulmer struggled in June [url=http://www.officialknightsproshop.com/authentic-adidas-tomas-tatar-jersey]Tomas Tatar Jersey[/url] , losing three of his five starts with a no-decision. Fulmer will face the Cubs for the first time in his career.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays, routinely using relievers as starters to deal with a rash of injuries, are pitching their way to victories.
The Rays (37-40) go into a two-game interleague series against the Washington Nationals with the momentum of a three-game sweep of the American League East-leading Yankees. New York hadn’t lost three games in a row at any point all season, but the Rays pulled it off, capped with a 7-6 win in 12 innings on Sunday at Tropicana Field.
“That’s the best team in the league right now, them and the Astros … I think coming home from that we had confidence and it all carried over into that series,” said Rays rookie first baseman Jake Bauers, who won the game in the 12th inning.
Since beginning their experimental use of relievers as “openers” to start games, the Rays have a 3.07 ERA, and entering Sunday’s game, that edged the Yankees for the best ERA in baseball since May 19. They’ve won five of seven games to again challenge .500, and Sunday’s walkoff home run by Bauers was their second this season, after totaling one in three seasons from 2015 to 2017.
The Nationals (41-35) had gone 3-9 in their last 12 games before Sunday night’s rain-delayed game against the Phillies, dropping into third place in the National League East. They’ll send out Gio Gonzalez (6-4, 3.08 ERA), who has no wins in his last four starts and his ERA has risen from a sterling 2.10 to 3.08.
Gonzalez lasted only four innings in his last outing [url=http://www.kansascitychiefsteamonline.com/justin-houston-jersey]Womens Justin Houston Jersey[/url] , giving up five hits and two runs against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday. For his career against the Rays, he’s 2-2 with a 5.54 ERA, though he’s only faced Tampa Bay once since 2012. That was a rough 2015 start at Tropicana Field, lasting 3 1/3 innings and giving up five earned runs on eight hits, walking more batters than he struck out. For his career at Tropicana, he has an 11.25 ERA.
The Rays will have an actual starter on the mound in Blake Snell (9-4, 2.48), who is in line for an All-Star appearance after the first three months of his season. He has just one loss in his last seven starts, and while he has never faced the Nationals, he has generally fared well in interleague play, going 3-2 with a 2.33 ERA in eight career starts.
Tampa Bay, hoping to build on its current momentum, has a tough week ahead, with two games against Washingto, then another four against Houston to close out the homestand.
Washington goes from St. Petersburg to a weekend four-game series at the Philadelphia Phillies before returning home for a week.
The Rays got a head start with a Sunday afternoon game and the Nationals saw their prime-time game delayed by rain, keeping them on the field beyond midnight and still needing to fly to Florida for the two-game stopover.
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