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Chicago Cubs vs. Kansas City Royals preview, Tuesday 8/7, 7:15 CT

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The Cubs go for two straight over the Royals.

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday notes:

  • The Cubs’ current schedule, with several short road trips and homestands, has them hopscotching all over the country. From August 1 through 23 they will fly from Pittsburgh to Chicago to Kansas City to Chicago to Pittsburgh to Detroit to Chicago. At least none of those flights is much longer than an hour, and there are three off days in that span.
  • It took Javier Baez only 110 games to reach 25 homers this season. Per STATS Inc., he is the third-fastest second baseman to reach the mark in franchise history, trailing only Ryne Sandberg (92 games in 1990) and Rogers Hornsby (106 games in 1929).
  • Mike Montgomery makes his 13th start of the season tonight. He is the third Cubs southpaw to do that this year, joining Jon Lester and Jose Quintana. Those three also made at least 13 starts last year, and this the first time the Cubs have had three southpaws make at least 13 starts in consecutive seasons in franchise history.
  • The Cubs lead the National League in batting average (.267), runs (560), on-base percentage (.345) and OPS (.772). Their 357 extra-base hits are fourth in the N.L. The Dodgers lead with 379.
  • Anthony Rizzo leadoff watch: Since moving to the leadoff spot July 13, Rizzo is hitting .361/.455/.639 (30-for-83) with six doubles, a triple and five home runs. The team is 13-9 (.591) in those 22 games, and Rizzo now needs just four more hits for 1,000 in his career.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Royals lineup:

Mike Montgomery, LHP vs. Brad Keller, RHP

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time since he became a Cub, Mike Montgomery faces the team that made him a No. 1 pick (36th overall) in 2008. The Royals sent him to the Mariners in a three-way deal that, among other things, wound up with Wade Davis sent to Kansas City from the Rays.

Anyway, since the All-Star break, two of MiMo’s three starts have been good ones. Hopefully, that’s a sign of things to come.

He has three career starts against the Royals, all in 2015 and 2016, and the results were all good: 0.55 ERA, 0.673 WHIP, one earned run in 16⅓ innings. A lot of those Royals are gone now, though; no current Royal has more than seven at-bats against him.

Hopefully, the combination of wanting to defeat his original team and the good starts lately will result in a good outing tonight.

Brad Keller was the eighth-round pick of the Diamondbacks in 2013. The Reds selected him in the Rule 5 draft last winter and traded him to the Royals.

He began this year in the Kansas City bullpen, and joined the rotation in late May. He’s made 11 starts and posted a 3.90 ERA and 1.433 WHIP in 60 innings. That’s good — what’s most impressive is that he just doesn’t give up home runs, just two in those 60 innings as a starter, only one other homer in 22⅓ innings as a reliever.

So — put the ball in play against him. Or wait him out for walks, as he’s walked 28 in those 60 innings as a starter.

Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Royals site Royals Review. If you do go there to interact with Royals fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.

The 2018 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2017. Here’s how it works.

You’ll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).

At the same time, a StoryStream containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream “Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads” so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.

You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap in the box marked “Chicago Cubs Game Threads” at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in the game’s StoryStream as noted above.

The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.

Discuss amongst yourselves.