Series Preview: Tigers at Cubs, July 3 - July 4, 2018

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Series Preview: Tigers at Cubs, July 3 – July 4, 2018

Chicago Cubs

I love when there’s baseball on a holiday and there’s no more a baseball-y holiday than the Fourth of July.

I’ll be taking in the short two-game series against the Tigers (and some fireworks) up in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The weather isn’t going to be great there tomorrow, but as long it’s sunny here in Chicago, I’ll have something to do when we’re all stuck inside.

Also of note: the Cubs have won four straight. A win today ties their season high (previously set twice) and a sweep sets a new season high in consecutive games won and games over .500. Let’s see it.

We’re Going Streaking

The Chicago Cubs (47-35) have won four straight games and are looking to match their season high with five consecutive wins today. They’re a game back in the NL Central, but tied with the first-place Brewers in the loss column.

The Detroit Tigers (38-48) are ten games under .500 already and although they’ve won their past two games, that followed an 0-11 skid. They are in second place of the AL Central, but are now 9.5 games back.

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

  • Tuesday, July 3 at 1:20 CT on CSN-C, MLBN (out-of-market), 670 The Score
  • Wednesday, July 4 at 1:20 CT on WGN, 670 The Score

Chicago Cubs

Probable Pitchers:

  • Kyle Hendricks (4.21 ERA, 4.89 FIP; 2.41 K/BB)
  • Jose Quintana (4.31 ERA, 4.50 FIP; 2.00 K/BB)

Active Depth Chart:

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

Unavailable: Carl Edwards, Brian Duensing, Eddie Butler, Rob Zastryzny, Justin Hancock, Kris Bryant, Yu Darvish, Drew Smyly

Detroit Tigers

Probable Pitchers:

  • Michael Fulmer (4.20 ERA, 4.04 FIP; 2.67 K/BB)
  • Francisco Liriano (3.99 ERA, 4.99 FIP; 1.44 K/BB)

Active Depth Chart:

  • C – James McCann
  • 1B – John Hicks
  • 2B – Niko Goodrum
  • 3B –  Jeimer Candelario
  • SS – Jose Iglesias
  • LF – Mikie Mahtook
  • CF – JaCoby Jones
  • RF – Nicholas Castellanos

Unavailable: Miguel Cabrera, Ryan Carpenter, Shane Greene, Leonys Martin, Daniel Norris, Drew VerHagen

Keep An Eye Out For …

Cubs Pitcher: Brandon Morrow has made just three appearances since returning from the disabled list, but he’s recorded six outs in eight chances – so … so far-so good. Your one thing to keep an eye on is that he doesn’t have a strikeout yet, but I’m sure it’s coming. For now, I just want to continue to see him pitching healthily and consistently. He’s very important to the 2018 season and the Cubs can’t afford to lose for long.

Cubs Player: Willson Contreras has hit well this year, but has experienced a distinct lack of power overall. HOWEVA, that seems to be changing. Over his past nine games he has 12 hits (including two doubles, one triple, and two homers) plus two walks a stolen base and 8 RBI. That’s a .375/.400/.688 slash line with a .313 ISO. Where’s the power? It’s showing up right now.

Tigers Pitcher: Michael Fulmer is not having the continued breakout many expected of him after posting 3.0+ WAR seasons in 2016 and 2017 to start his career. He did have elbow surgery over the offseason, though, so I’m guessing he’ll straight out with time. And because of that, I don’t want to underestimate him this series, just because his ERA and FIP start with a “4.”

Tigers Player: Jeimer Candelario! How can we not check in on our old friend? Candelario broke out immediately after being traded to the Tigers last season in the Alex Avila/Justin Wilson trade and he’s improved this year. So far he’s got a 120 wRC+, is a positive on defense and on the basepaths and has already been worth 2.2 WAR, which is more than everyone on the Cubs other than Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber. Given the existence of Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Javy Baez, Anthony Rizzo, and, to an extent, Ben Zobrist and Ian Happ, I don’t feel too bad about losing Candelario, because there was just no place for him to play. But watching him, Gleyber Torres, and Eloy Jimenez over the next few years could get rough. Good for them.


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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