Series Preview: Indians at Cubs, May 22 - May 23, 2018

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Series Preview: Indians at Cubs, May 22 – May 23, 2018

Chicago Cubs

If you haven’t gotten a chance to read Brett’s post on the last time the Indians were at Wrigley Field, I strongly encourage you check it out. It was a fun trip back in time to a crucial game that probably gets overlooked too often (at least, in my mind).

But in any case, the Indians are back at Wrigley Field for a brief two-game set. If you recall, the Cubs split their set with them in Cleveland earlier this, beating Josh Tomlin, but losing to Trevor Bauer (tonight’s starter). Bauer has been pretty dang good this season, so hopefully the Cubs remember what they saw and can get to him early on.

We’re Going Streaking

The Chicago Cubs (25-19) just won three of four from the Cincinnati Reds after dropping two of three to the Braves. They’re in third place in the NL Central, but have the same number of losses as the first-place Brewers.  

The Cleveland Indians (22-23) have not gotten off to a roaring start, and remain one game below .500… but are in first place. They just dropped back-to-back series against the Astros (understandable) and Tigers (eh …), after beating the Royals in 2 of 3.

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

  • Tuesday, May 22 at 6:05 CT on WGN, ESPN, 670 The Score
  • Wednesday, May 23 at 7:05 on NBC Sports Chicago, MLBN (out-of-market only), 670 The Score

Chicago Cubs

Probable Pitchers:

  • Tyler Chatwood (3.14 ERA, 4.08 FIP, 1.18 K/BB)
  • Jon Lester (2.52 ERA, 4.36 FIP; 2.10 K/BB)

Active Depth Chart:

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

Cleveland … Blew a 3-1 Lead

Probable Pitchers:

  • Trevor Bauer (2.59 ERA, 2.78 FIP; 3.19 K/BB)
  • Adam Plutko (2.25 ERA, 3.56 FIP; 3.89 K/BB)*

*Triple-A Stats

Active Depth Chart:

  • C – Roberto Perez
  • 1B – Yonder Alonso
  • 2B – Jason Kipnis
  • 3B – Jose Ramirez
  • SS – Francisco Lindor
  • LF – Michael Brantley
  • CF – Greg Allen
  • RF – Brandon Guyer

Keep an Eye Out For …

Cubs Pitcher: Jon Lester has been far outperforming his peripherals this season, and while that’s not uncommon for him, the degree to which his ERA outpaces his FIP is quite staggering. He’s been getting by so far, but a 10.1% walk rate, 35.0% hard-hit rate, and 39.0% ground ball rate is such a recipe for disaster. Hopefully, he can keep the free passes to a minimum, because batters have been doing a lot of damage in the air.

Cubs Player: Willson Contreras has just been quietly going about his business at the plate this year, currently posting the best slash line of his young career: .276/.357/.487 (129 wRC+). If you stretch back to just April 6 (last 144 PAs). that production bumps up to 138 wRC+. May 6? 205 wRC+. Contreras is good *and* heating up.

Indians Pitcher: Trevor Bauer annoys me, and he’s dang good now.

Indians Player: Francisco Lindor is one of my favorite non-Cubs (right there with Adrian Beltre) and he’s having a career year at the plate (148 wRC+) and, quite possibly, in the field. He’s been worth 2.6 WAR already this year, which ranks fifth best in baseball. He’s currently riding a bit of a cold streak (3-23 with three singles and four walks), but that was immediately preceded by an absolute tear. We’ll see which version we get tonight, but I’m betting on the good one (and not just because he’s on my fantasy team).

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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