After splitting their four-game series against the Padres over the weekend, the Cubs travel to Kansas City to take on the Royals for three games. The Cubs enter with a 64-47 record and a one-game lead in the NL Central over the Brewers. At 9-9 since the break, Chicago is still looking for an opportunity to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the division.
The bullpen struggled in the finale against the Padres, giving up four earned runs in the 9th inning, and has wavered some over the last few games. The starting rotation has been a concern all season, but the three scheduled starters taking the mound for the Cubs in this series are all coming off of strong outings of at least five innings and only one run allowed. Hopefully they can keep their momentum going against the Royals.
KC enters the series with a 34-77 record, second-worst in the league, in the midst of a rebuilding year. They are coming off of a three-game sweep at the hands of the Twins and have lost four overall. Despite their struggles up until this point in the season, the Royals’ lineup boasts a couple established veterans capable of carrying an offense in Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez.
Both have experienced down years compared to normal, but Gordon has been hot in August, hitting .421 with one homer and eight RBI. Another bat to focus on is Whit Merrifield, who is batting .307 on the season and who is also hitting well in August (.526 average, 2 HR, 5 RBI).
The Cubs are starting three southpaws in this series, which could help slow down the Royals’ lineup, as Gordon (.180) and Perez (.241) have struggled against lefties all season. Merrifield has crushed left-handed pitching (.377 average), so finding a way to slow him down will key in this series.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Monday, August 6 at 7:15pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago
- Tuesday, August 7 at 7:15pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago
- Wednesday, August 8 at 7:15pm CT on WGN
What To Watch For
- Anthony Rizzo (.358 average) and Javy Baez (.344 average) have both been has been on fire in the second half and each hit five home runs. Continuing their hot streaks could be key for the Cubs’ stretch run for a playoff berth.
- Ben Zobrist is in the midst of resurgent season, hitting .310 overall and .444 in the second half. This might be his best season as a Cub and he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down just yet.
- Cole Hamels looked pretty good in his Cubs debut (5 IP, 0 ER) and it would be great for the back end of the rotation if he can maintain that level of production moving forward. He gets the start in game one, matching up against Royals right-hander Jakob Junis, who is from my home town of Rock Falls, IL. I’ll be watching this one closely.