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The Chicago Cubs will try to bounce back from their first loss in more than a week when they host the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday afternoon in the second part of a three-game series at Wrigley Field.
A 3-2 loss on Friday afternoon snapped a six-game winning streak for Chicago (49-36) [url=http://www.bengalscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-darqueze-dennard-jersey]Darqueze Dennard Jersey[/url] , which failed to score five-plus runs for the first time in nine games. The Cubs are 3-7 against the Reds this season.
Meanwhile, Cincinnati (39-49) will try to keep up its recent hot streak. The Reds have won two straight, five of six and 14 of 18 to rewrite the narrative on a miserable start to the season.
Cubs right-hander Tyler Chatwood (3-5, 4.54 ERA) is scheduled to make his 16th start. He does not have a victory in his past eight outings and is seeking his first win since May 11.
Control has been a problem for Chatwood, who leads the big leagues with 66 walks in 73 1/3 innings. He hopes for better results and his first win against Cincinnati, against whom he is 0-4 with a 4.18 ERA in five career starts. He has walked 17 and struck out 17 in 23 2/3 innings against the Reds.
Meanwhile, Cincinnati will counter with right-hander Matt Harvey (4-5, 4.91), who will make his 15th start of the season and his 11th with the Reds. The 29-year-old has found confidence since arriving from the New York Mets, limiting opponents to two runs or fewer in each of his past three outings.
“It’s nice to finally get into a groove, get into a rhythm, know I can get out of jams when I need to and also be able to go deep into games with consistent velocity and good stuff,” Harvey said recently to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “When you start feeling healthy, the confidence comes back, for sure.”
Harvey’s renewed effectiveness could make him a trade candidate for an eager contender.
In five career starts against the Cubs, including three at Wrigley Field, Harvey has posted a 2-1 record with a 4.23 ERA. He has walked eight and whiffed 28 in 27 2/3 innings.
Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, who has been on the disabled list since June 23 because of inflammation in his left shoulder, is nearing a return as the weekend approaches. He said he felt good after taking swings in the batting cage Friday [url=http://www.bengalscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-dre-kirkpatrick-jersey]Dre Kirkpatrick Jersey[/url] , which pleased team president Theo Epstein and others.
“The shoulder, it’s an important joint for the swing, and his swing, and the finish he has,” Epstein said to the team’s official website. “I don’t know that we expected it to (take) this long, but it’s certainly very legitimate, and he needs to be able to execute his swing. I’m glad today is a good day, and hopefully we’ll have him back sometime soon.
“He really wants to be out there, but any time you have an injury you feel on your swing, you have to be smart about it. He’s been smart about it. He wants to be out there contributing. The fact that guys have stepped up and won some games makes it a little bit easier.”
MIAMI — The New York Mets have their staff ace, at least for the next few weeks. The Miami Marlins hope they begin finding their next ace Friday night.
Rookie Sandy Alcantara is scheduled to make his season debut and his first major league start Friday night when the Marlins host the Mets in the opener of a three-game series between the two teams battling to stay out of the National League East basement at Marlins Park.
Both teams are coming off losses in their most recent games. The host Marlins fell Thursday afternoon to the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-0. The Mets were off Thursday after suffering a 5-3 loss Wednesday night to the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates.
The present is pretty bleak for the Mets (32-46) and the Marlins (32-50), who have the two worst records in the NL.
But both teams may get a glimpse at things to come when the 22-year-old Alcantara steps to the mound against perhaps the best pitcher in baseball, New York ace Jacob deGrom (5-3, 1.69 ERA).
For the Marlins, who acquired Alcantara from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for outfielder Marcell Ozuna last Dec. 14 as part of the organization’s latest teardown, Friday marks the latest step in the development of a pitcher believed to have upper-rotation potential.
Alcantara, who entered the season as Baseball America’s 70th-ranked prospect, throws in the high 90s and also offers an above-average curveball, slider and changeup. He was 5-3 with a 3.71 ERA in 14 starts with Triple-A New Orleans [url=http://www.bengalscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-geno-atkins-jersey]Geno Atkins Jersey[/url] , for whom he exceeded 95 pitches in each of his final six appearances.
“He’s got all the weapons, so for him it’s just being able to sequence (pitches), stay ahead in counts and then the other part is managing the game holding runners, things like that,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly told reporters Thursday.
Alcantara didn’t get a decision and posted a 4.32 ERA in eight relief appearances last season with the Cardinals.
As for deGrom, the next month should determine whether or not he becomes the Mets’ building block for the future, or the player whose trade sparks the organization’s rebuilding efforts.
John Ricco, who became one of the three men filling the general manager’s role with the announcement Tuesday that Sandy Alderson is taking an indefinite leave of absence to focus on his cancer treatments, said Wednesday that moving deGrom and/or Opening Day starter Noah Syndergaard is not something the club is necessarily looking to do. But he also admitted that he, Omar Minaya and J.P. Ricciardi need to entertain all possibilities as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches.
The Mets have a bottom-five minor league system and deGrom, who turned 30 earlier this month, has a 2.81 ERA in 123 career starts and does not become a free agent until after the 2020 season, would likely bring back the biggest haul of any pitcher on the market over the next month.
“For me, everything has to be on the table,” Ricco told reporters. “But you have to look long and hard before you move a game-changing, top-of-the-rotation pitcher.”
Alcantara has never faced the Mets. DeGrom is 4-4 with a 3.62 ERA in 14 career starts against the Marlins.
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