The Cubs (42-47) ended the first half on a positive note, winning two of three from the Yankees in New York. Despite that, Chicago is still five games under .500 and seven back of the first-place Cincinnati Reds in the National League Central.
The North Siders begin the second half with a crucial 10-game homestand that will determine whether they will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. It begins when the Boston Red Sox head to Wrigley Field for a set of three beginning Friday night.
Boston (48-43) has won five in a row to pull themselves above .500 and within two games of the final Wild Card spot in the American League. They have been a very strong offensive team with a .761 OPS that is sixth-best in baseball, although their surprisingly low home run of 94 ranks 22nd.
The pitching has been a much bigger issue for manager Alex Cora with a 4.33 ERA, right in the middle of the pack. The starting rotation has really been an Achilles heel with a 4.67 mark, just ahead of the disastrous St. Louis Cardinals starting staff.
Outfielder Masataka Yoshida has been a revelation coming over from Japan and posting an .874 OPS, and third baseman Rafael Devers is still a big power threat in the middle of the order. Kenley Jansen, over from the Braves, is still a very good closer and has really been finding his form of late.
The Cubs get three consecutive matchups against teams with losing records after this series, so playing well here could spark a streak of good baseball. Chicago’s fate is going to be decided one way or the other in the next two weeks, so here’s hoping it’s a good outcome.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Friday, July 14 at 7:05pm CT on Marquee.
- Saturday, July 15 at 1:20pm CT on Marquee.
- Sunday, July 16 at 1:20pm CT on Marquee.
What to Watch For
- Seiya Suzuki is currently on a six-game hitting streak and homered his last time out.
- Cody Bellinger has reached base 15 times in his last seven contests.
- Steele gets a couple days off after his scoreless inning in Tuesday’s All-Star game.