Series Preview: Indians at Cubs, June 21 - June 22, 2021

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Series Preview: Indians at Cubs, June 21 – June 22, 2021

Chicago Cubs

Tonight, I’m going to my first Cubs game at Wrigley Field since the end of the 2019 season. I really can’t wait. I’ll be in the bleachers with a big group of friends, so stop by, say hi, sit and have a beer, etc. I miss meeting strangers in the bleachers.

Also, I’m reminded that the last time I saw the Cubs and Indians play each other in person it was Game 1 of the 2016 World Series. The Cubs lost that game, but six games later, they wound up winning their first World Series championship since 1908. People forget that. And I like to remind them.

This will be just a short two-game series for the Cubs and Indians, with Adbert Alzolay making his way back on the mound tonight and Kyle Hendricks pitching tomorrow. Cleveland (89 wRC+) has been one of the worst offenses against right-handed pitching this season, so maybe this is when the Cubs get back on that winning horse, eh?

The Dodgers and Brewers are up next, so let’s take advantage of some winnable games.

We’re Going Streaking

The Chicago Cubs (40-32) avoided another sweep this weekend, but have been struggling overall. If their 5-5 record over the past ten games wasn’t unexpectedly matched by the Brewers, they would have fallen out of first by now. Instead, there’s still a tie atop the division and a two-way tie for third (Cardinals and Reds are both 4.0 games back). The Cleveland Indians (39-30) have won 7 of their past 10 and appear hot on the surface, but … they’ve played the Orioles (7) and the Pirates (3) ten times since the start of June. They also got a near-.500 Mariners team for three games and the banged-up Cardinals for two. So, yeah, they’re winning, but this is a sweet spot in the schedule for them. Well, hopefully, until today.

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

•   Monday, June 21st at 7:05 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
•   Tuesday, June 22nd at 7:05 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Aaron Civale (R) v. Adbert Alzolay (R)
Game 2: Eli Morgan (R) v. Kyle Hendricks (R)

Chicago Cubs

•   C – Willson Contreras
•   1B – Anthony Rizzo
•   2B – Sergio Alcantara
•   3B – Kris Bryant/Patrick Wisdom
•   SS – Javy Báez
•   LF – Joc Pederson
•   CF – Ian Happ
•   RF – Jason Heyward/Kris Bryant

Unavailable: Justin Steele, Matt Duffy, Nico Hoerner, David Bote, Trevor Williams, Adbert Alzolay, Dillon Maples, Rowan Wick, Jonathan Holder, Austin Romine, P.J. Higgins

Cleveland Indians

•   C – Rene Rivera
•   1B – Bobby Bradley
•   2B – Cesar Hernandez
•   3B – Jose Ramirez(?)
•   SS – Amed Rosario
•   LF – Eddie Rosario
•   CF – Bradley Zimmer
•   RF – Harold Ramirez

Unavailable: Austin Hedges, Franmil Reyes, Zach Plesac, Jordan Luplow, Shane Bieber, Cam Hill, Roberto Perez

By the Numbers:

Run Differential:
Cubs: +22 (10th)
Indians: +3 (13th)

Runs Scored Per Game:
Cubs: 4.36 (16th)
Indians: 3.36 (15th)

Runs Allowed Per Game:
Cubs: 4.06 (11th)
Indians: 4.32 (14th)

Keep An Eye Out For …

Surprise! Jose Ramirez is having another good season. Overall, he’s slashing .269/.353/.537 (136 wRC+, 2.5 WAR), but he’s been even hotter in June with 5 doubles, 3 homers, and an 11.3% strikeout rate in 62 PAs (157 wRC+). He’s always good.

Adbert Alzolay Returns! Later tonight, the Cubs young starter, Alzolay, will make his first start since going on the IL with a blister issue earlier this month. He says it’s all cleared up now and I’m really excited to see him pitch. He remains a vital part of the success this season and in the near future. Alzolay had been on a nice run before the blister injury, with just 13 earned runs over 39.2 IP (2.95 ERA). Other highlights of that stretch: 26.3 K%, 3.8BB%, 47.6 GB%.

Sticky stuff. I wonder if this is going to be a whole thing tonight.

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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