Game One Hundred Twenty-Two: Cubs (70-51) vs. Braves (53-70)
- Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: WGN-TV Ch. 9 – Radio: WBBM 780, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 187, 844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jason Hammel (6-5, 3.38/1.09/3.64) vs. Matt Wisler (5-3, 4.65/1.52/4.55)
The Cubs wrap up the series and season-series with the Braves this afternoon. The Cubs will shoot for the four-game sweep behind Jason Hammel. After going 2-1 in the three games in Atlanta following the break, the Cubs are 5-1 in the first six games of the season-series with the Braves.
Today was scheduled to be the final game of the homestand, but the Indians will be at Wrigley on Monday afternoon (1:05pm CDT) for a make-up of the game that was postponed back on June 15. The Cubs will send Jon Lester to the hill while his teammates have to deal with Corey Kluber.
Jason Hammel gets the ball this afternoon in what has become a very important start for him and the team. Due to his recent struggles many have forgotten just how good he was before July 8. Hammel was arguably the Cubs most consistent starter in the first three months of the season. In his first 17 games, Hammel gave up 80 hits with 18 walks and 105 strikeouts in 103 2/3 innings (2.86 ERA, 0.95 WHIP). Hammel’s performance has been hampered by the left hamstring injury he suffered on July 8. The team and Hammel can say he’s healthy all they want. His performance over the last six starts speaks louder than words.
The relievers simply cannot keep up the pace. If Jason Hammel, Kyle Hendricks and Dan Haren don’t start pitching deeper into games, the bullpen isn’t going to have anything left in for the final three weeks of the season.
Joe Maddon should run out the same lineup, with the exception of Hammel, that he has over the first three games of the series. Lefties (.347/.417/.522) and righties (.264/.294/.368) have had success against the very talented Matt Wisler. It’s another game with the Braves and another young arm with excellent stuff for the Cubs to figure out.
Today all starts with Jason Hammel …
Jason Hammel is coming off possibly his worst start of the season. Even if the rain delay didn’t cut his outing to three innings, it is highly unlikely Maddon would have let Hammel start the fourth. Just about everything out of Hammel’s hand was up in the zone and the Tigers took advantage of the poor location. Hammel gave up five runs on nine hits, three home runs, and a walk. Hammel struck out six in three innings.
Jason Hammel showed progress in the two outing leading up to the start against Detroit. He has not been anywhere close to the same pitcher he was prior to the hamstring injury on July 8. The Cubs need for him to turn his season back around.
Since the break, Hammel is 1-1 in six starts with a 5.33 ERA and 1.67 WHIP. Teams are hitting well over .300 against him and his strikeout to walk ratio is beyond concerning. Hammel has given up 35 hits with 10 walks and 26 strikeouts in 27 innings. Hammel was better than a 5:1 strikeout to walk ratio in the first half.
If Hammel struggles early, Maddon will go to his bullpen. With the week ahead on the West Coast, at least a quality start is a must today for Jason Hammel.
Jason Hammel was pushed back to the Reds series after the break and missed the Braves in Atlanta. Hammel is just 1-4 in eight career starts against the Braves with a 6.37 ERA and 1.68 WHIP … and those numbers include both starts versus the Braves a year ago. Hammel was 0-1 with a 6.30 ERA and 1.50 WHIP.
Braves Career Numbers against Jason Hammel
- Michael Bourn: 4-for-19 with two doubles and one walk
- Nick Swisher: 3-for-13 with two doubles and four walks
- Nick Markakis: 8-for-16 with one home run
- A.J. Pierzynski: 3-for-10 with one home run
- Freddie Freeman: 5-for-7 with two home runs and one walk
- Cameron Maybin: 3-for-8 with one double
- Jonny Gomes: 2-for-6 with one walk
- Andrelton Simmons: 0-for-6
- Ryan Lavarnway: 0-for-1
The Cubs get their first look at the incredibly talented Matt Wisler this afternoon. Jason McLeod and Jed Hoyer selected Wisler in the seventh round of the 2011 draft when the two were calling the shots for San Diego. The Braves snapped up Wisler from San Diego in the Craig Kimbrel deal on Opening Night. The Braves sent Kimbrel and Melvin Upton Jr. to the Padres and the Braves received Wisler, Jordan Paroubeck, Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin in return.
Matt Wisler was considered the Padres top prospect at the time of the deal.
Matt Wisler is making his 12th big league start today. While the results have been mixed, he has excellent stuff and a bright future ahead. Wisler features a high-90s fastball that sits in the 92-94 mph range with sink on his two-seamer and riding life on his four-seamer. He also throws a plus-slider in the low-80s, an average changeup and a low-70s curveball.
Wisler lost his last start to the Padres. He allowed two runs on six hits with two walks and two strikeouts in five innings. Wisler is 0-2 in his last four starts with a 7.20 ERA and 1.90 WHIP. Wisler has given up 16 runs on 30 hits with eight walks and 13 strikeouts in 20 innings.
Outside of Atlanta in the majors this year, Wisler is 2-3 in seven starts with a 5.30 ERA and 1.66 WHIP.
Joe Maddon does not have a player on his active roster that has faced Matt Wisler during a regular season ballgame.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …