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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Tigers series preview

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The Cubs have a chance to take a pair from a not-very-good team.

Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Right now, I think I’d just be happy if the Cubs scored more than one run per game, and could score by means other than a solo homer.

Perhaps facing the Tigers will be the cure for the Cubs’ lack of offense.

I asked Ashley MacLennan, who writes for us here at BCB but who is also an editor at our SB Nation Tigers site Bless You Boys, to update us on the Tigers.

The Tigers are in rough shape. That they happen to be playing in one of the worst divisions in baseball has helped make it seem like they’re not doing too badly. Third place in the AL Central? Pretty good, right? Not so much. Being the third best team in a dismal division is hardly a bragging right as the Tigers go into this series with the Cubs with a 51-74 record. Oof.

Not helping them at all is a spate of recent injuries. Blaine Hardy, a reliever-turned-starter for the team, is on the DL, putting the Tigers in a predicament this past weekend as they juggled Triple-A players and ended up needing to pull out a bullpen day. The problem is that the Tigers bullpen is already lean to begin with and has been massively overworked. Add to this that they traded one of their most reliable starters, Mike Fiers, that Jordan Zimmermann has been a giant question mark, Michael Fulmer is still in rehab, and Francisco Liriano is... bad. Needless to say when the Tigers have been considering bringing up a guy with a 45.00 ERA to fill in the gaps, the starting pitching isn’t looking so hot.

Miguel Cabrera is gone for the season. Gold Glove hopeful shortstop Jose Iglesias may not be back in action for the series thanks to an injured wrist, and a rotating cast of “who’s that guy?” are manning first base and the outfield. It’s going to be a tall order to see the Tigers take down the Cubs, and they just don’t seem up to the task as the season drags on.

Tigers right fielder Nicholas Castellanos was named American League player of the week last week for hitting .393 (11-for-28) with three doubles, two home runs, five walks and eight runs scored, so there’s a hitter Cubs pitchers will be watching in particular.

Fun fact

Since 2016, the Cubs are 37-18 against American League teams in regular-season interleague play. This includes one season against each of the three A.L. divisions (15-5 vs. the A.L. West in 2016, 12-8 vs. the A.L. East in 2017, 10-5 so far this year vs. the A.L. Central).

Pitching matchups

Tuesday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (9-9, 4.11 ERA, 1.224 WHIP, 4.15 FIP) vs. Jordan Zimmermann, RHP (5-5, 4.36 ERA, 1.263 WHIP, 4.29 FIP)

Wednesday: Jon Lester, LHP (13-5, 3.72 ERA, 1.318 WHIP, 4.83 FIP) vs. Francisco Liriano, LHP (3-8, 4.72 ERA, 1.510 WHIP, 5.63 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Tuesday: 6:10 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago

Wednesday: 6:10 p.m. CT, WGN

Prediction

The Cubs took two from the Tigers at Wrigley Field last month. The Tigers are 13-24, the third-worst record in the American League, since that series. The pitching matchups appear favorable, so I’m going to say the Cubs will take these two games.

Up next

The Cubs return to Wrigley Field for a four-game series against the Cincinnati Reds beginning Thursday evening.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Tigers?

This poll is closed

  • 72%
    2
    (265 votes)
  • 19%
    1
    (71 votes)
  • 8%
    0
    (30 votes)
366 votes total Vote Now