Series Preview: Cubs at Indians, April 24 - April 25, 2018

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Series Preview: Cubs at Indians, April 24 – April 25, 2018

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs are back in Cleveland!

For the first time since the 2016 World Series, which ended in the most memorable baseball game of all-time, the Cubs are heading back to Progressive Field for a quick two-game set against the Indians. This’ll be a fun one to watch, even if for the nostalgia, alone.

After this two-game series, the Cubs are actually heading back home to host the Brewers for four and Rockies for three, before hitting the road for a three-gamer against St. Louis. Which means, if you’re counting them up at home, they have 12 straight games against good, competitive teams. If they left this stretch with a winning record, I think you’d have to take that.

We’re Going Streaking

The Chicago Cubs (10-9) may be two games out of first (fourth place), one game over .500, and 5-5 over their last ten games … but I feel oddly zen about their immediate future. I think they’re going to take off any second now.

The Cleveland Indians (12-8) have won three straight contests, propelling them into a 2.5 game lead in the AL Central. Let’s see if the Cubs can’t slow them down a bit.

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

  • Tuesday, April 24 at 5:10 CT on WGN, MLBN (out-of-market only) 670 The Score
  • Wednesday, April 25 at 6:10 on NBC Sports Chicago, 670 The Score

Chicago Cubs

Probable Pitchers:

  • Tyler Chatwood (4.60 ERA, 4.39 FIP; 1.29 K/BB)
  • Jon Lester (3.10 ERA, 3.52 FIP; 2.25 K/BB)

Active Depth Chart:

  • C – Willson Contreras
  • 1B – Anthony Rizzo
  • 2B – Javy Baez
  • 3B – Kris Bryant
  • SS – Addison Russell
  • LF – Kyle Schwarber
  • CF – Ian Happ/Albert Almora/Jason Heyward
  • RF – Jason Heyward

Cleveland Indians

Probable Pitchers:

  • Josh Tomlin (8.00 ERA, 9.73 FIP; 1.00 K/BB)
  • Trevor Bauer (2.67 ERA, 3.58 FIP; 2.70 K/BB)

Active Depth Chart:

  • C – Roberto Perez
  • 1B – Yonder Alonso
  • 2B – Jason Kipnis
  • 3B – Jose Ramirez
  • SS – Francisco Lindor
  • LF – Michael Brantley
  • CF – Bradley Zimmer
  • RF – Tyler Naquin

*Danny Salazar is on the disabled list.

Keep an Eye Out For …

Cubs Pitcher: Carl Edwards, Jr. is off to a fantastic start this season, and is currently the 7th most valuable reliever in baseball with 0.5 WAR. He’s also currently working on an eight-game (8.2 IP) scoreless streak, during which he’s struck out 17 batters and walked just 2. His 46.5% strikeout rate is 6th best in baseball.

Cubs Player: Ian Happ. This might seem like the smallest of victories, but I’d like to point out that Happ hasn’t struck out in any of his last five plate appearances and has brought his season-long K-rate down to 43.1%. More encouraging, his K-rate is actually under 29% over his last nine games/28 plate appearances. And it’s not like his production has nose-dived over that stretch, either …

Indians Pitcher: The Cubs are lucky with their timing this week, because they will miss Corey Kluber (1.96 ERA, 0.9 WAR), Carlos Carrasco (2.31 ERA, 0.8 WAR), and Mike Clevinger (1.75 ERA, 0.6 WAR), all of whom rank among the top 30 pitchers in baseball by overall WAR and ERA. It’s not like Trevor Bauer has been bad, but he hasn’t performed like those three, and Josh Tomlin is just straight-up beatable.

Indians PlayerJose Ramirez has had an interesting start to the season. Although his slash line doesn’t look elite .237/.348/.526 (135 wRC+), he’s still still provided excellent overall production. And that goes double when you factor in his 14.6% walk rate, 6.7% strikeout rate, seven homers, and two stolen bases. It’s a weird 2018 resume, but it’s also pretty intimidating.

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Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami