We welcome back former Cubs Starlin Castro and Aroldis Chapman this weekend. Chapman will be receiving his World Series ring, though there won’t be an on-field ceremony.
Despite Castro’s struggles at times as a Cub, I’d expect him to be welcomed back warmly.
The 2017 Yankees weren’t supposed to be this good. In the midst of a team retooling, the Bombers have surprised everyone with some pretty stellar play — they enter this series in first place in the AL East by half a game over the Orioles.
There was certainly a lot for Yankee fans to be hopeful about entering the season, but a 1-4 start coupled with a litany of injuries put a quick damper on that parade. The Yanks lost shortstop Didi Gregorius for six weeks to a shoulder injury during the WBC and added starting catcher, and 2016 rookie phenom, Gary Sanchez to the list with a bicep strain.
However, since those early season woes, the Yankees have turned things around in a big way. The Yanks’ potent offense has been highlighted by starting right fielder and large, large human Aaron Judge, who sure looks like a very-early Rookie of the Year contender, ripping the cover off the ball with some mammoth home runs and backing it up with solid defense. Cubs fans may not be excited to meet the Yankee-fan-favorite, who clocks in at 6’7”, 282 lbs, and spends most days sentencing baseballs to death.
The biggest surprise of the season for the Yankees has been their pitching. Thought to be their achilles heel coming into 2017, the pitching staff has defied expectations and currently owns the lowest team ERA in the league. The bullpen has been damn near perfect, while the starting rotation has thrown some gems, anchored by youngster Luis Severino and resident ace Masahiro Tanaka.
The Yanks also bring some familiar faces back to Wrigley in Starlin Castro and Aroldis Chapman. Castro, in particular, has been enjoying a successful start to the season, currently with the second-highest BA in the American League.
It’s always exciting when the Yanks and Cubbies face off, but given the strength of these two young squads, it should be a fun weekend in Chicago.
The Cubs are 4-9 all-time against the Yankees, but have won just two of 10 since 2003. The most recent Cubs win over the Yankees was May 20, 2014, when Jason Hammel outdueled Tanaka on a rainy night at Wrigley Field.
Friday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (2-1, 4.18 ERA, 1.214 WHIP, 5.08 FIP) vs. Michael Pineda, RHP (3-1, 3.14 ERA, 1.047 WHIP, 3.15 FIP)
Saturday: Brett Anderson, LHP (2-1, 6.23 ERA, 1.846 WHIP, 4.52 FIP) vs. Jordan Montgomery, LHP (1-1, 4.15 ERA, 1.477 WHIP, 3.64 FIP)
Sunday: Jon Lester, LHP (1-1, 3.67 ERA, 1.485 WHIP, 4.06 FIP) vs. Luis Severino, RHP (2-2, 3.86 ERA, 0.949 WHIP, 3.78 FIP)
Times & TV channels
Friday: 1:20 p.m. CT, CSN Chicago Plus, MLB Network (outside Chicago and New York markets)
Saturday: 6:15 p.m. CT, Fox-TV
Sunday: 7:05 p.m. CT, ESPN
Theoretically, the Cubs are missing the Yankees’ two best starters, Tanaka and CC Sabathia. But the three Yankees starting in this series have been better than those two so far this year. Still, the Cubs should seem to have the advantageous pitching matchups in this set. I’ll go with two out of three.
How many games will the Cubs win against the Yankees?
This poll is closed