Game One Hundred Seventeen: Cubs (67-49) vs. Tigers (56-61)
- Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: ABC-7, MLB Network – Radio: WBBM 780, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 89, 844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jason Hammel (6-5, 3.10/1.04/3.41) vs. Anibal Sanchez (10-10, 4.95/1.27/4.65)
Weather permitting … The Cubs begin a seven-game homestand tonight with the first of two against the Tigers. The Braves make their annual trip to Wrigley for a four-game series that starts Thursday and the rather long stint in Chicago wraps next Monday with a make-up against the Indians.
A lot has changed for the Tigers since the Cubs two-game series in Detroit in early June. The Cubs entered the series on June 9 with a 30-25 record while the Tigers were 30-28. The Cubs were shutout by Anibal Sanchez in the first game 6-0 and won the next day 12-3. David Price, Yoenis Cespedes and Joakim Soria were traded at the deadline. Dave Dombrowski was asked to step down and Brad Ausmus is on the hot seat. The Tigers are five games under .500 but are still in the playoff picture in the AL. The Tigers enter play tonight five back of the Orioles for the second Wild Card looking up at the Rays, Twins, Rangers and Angels. But with Miguel Cabrera back, anything is possible in the Junior Circuit.
After tonight’s match-up of Jason Hammel and Anibal Sanchez, Jon Lester is scheduled to face lefty Daniel Norris on Wednesday night.
Look for Joe Maddon to run out his left-handed lineup tonight with Chris Coghlan at second base and Kyle Schwarber in left field despite the fact lefties (.214/.287/.345) have not hit Anibal Sanchez as well as righties (.292/.330/.498) this season. Maddon is going to bet on his lineup adding to Sanchez’s rather lofty home run total (28).
Tonight all starts with Jason Hammel …
It will be interesting to watch how Joe Maddon handles Jason Hammel tonight. Maddon has had a quick hook on Hammel in each of his last two starts. And Maddon made the right decision both times. Hammel has not been the same pitcher since he tweaked his hamstring on July 8 against the Cardinals. Hammel has been squared up rather well and struggled with his command. Getting Hammel right is very important to the Cubs success for the remainder of the season. When Hammel pitches like he did for a majority of the first half he fits in well behind Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta in the rotation.
Since the break, Hammel is 1-1 in five starts with a 4.13 ERA and 1.46 WHIP but in his last two outings, Hammel has allowed three runs on seven hits (two home runs) with three walks and nine strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings (2.79 ERA, 1.03 WHIP).
Hammel is 1-2 in 11 starts at Wrigley this season with a 3.03 ERA and 0.99 WHIP (23 runs, 21 earned, on 49 hits with 13 walks and 50 strikeouts in 62 1/3 innings).
Jason Hammel missed the Tigers in Detroit and is 2-2 in eight games, five starts, over his career with a 7.18 ERA and 1.94 WHIP. Hammel last faced the Tigers on June 1, 2013. Hammel took the loss in a 10-3 win for the Tigers over the Orioles after allowing five runs on five hits with three walks and no strikeouts in three innings.
Tigers Career Numbers against Jason Hammel
- Miguel Cabrera: 4-for-11 with one double and one walk
- Victor Martinez: 2-for-7 with one home run and two walks
- Rajai Davis: 2-for-8 with one home run
- Alex Avila: 1-for-4 with one home run and two walks
- Ian Kinsler: 1-for-4 with home walk
- Anthony Gose: 0-for-3
- J.D. Martinez: 0-for-2
- Jose Iglesias: 0-for-2
The Cubs get a second shot at Anibal Sanchez. And he will see a team other than the Royals for the first time since Aug. 1. The Royals had their way with Sanchez in Detroit and Kansas City. Sanchez was touched up for nine runs on 12 hits with five walks and 10 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings over two starts.
Anibal Sanchez has struggled since his start on June 15 against the Reds. Sanchez shut the Cubs down on June 9 and pitched a complete-game two-hitter against the Reds his next time out. Sanchez is 2-3 in his last six starts with a 6.00 ERA and 1.58 WHIP.
Sanchez’s numbers over his last three starts are a little skewed due to facing two teams. But he is still 0-2 with a 7.50 ERA and 1.44 WHIP.
The Cubs must jump on Sanchez early and not let up. Sanchez is 3-6 in nine road starts with a 5.09 ERA and 1.30 WHIP, but again, one of his best games of the season came at the expense of the Cubs.
Anibal Sanchez is 3-2 in six career starts against the Cubs with a 3.57 ERA and 1.56 WHIP … and at Wrigley, 1-1 in three starts with a 4.67 ERA and 1.67 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Anibal Sanchez
- Miguel Montero: 3-for-20 with one double and one home run
- David Ross: 4-for-18 with one double, one home run and two walks
- Starlin Castro: 3-for-11 with two walks
- Dexter Fowler: 2-for-10 with two walks
- Anthony Rizzo: 2-for-9 with two walks
- Chris Denorfia: 2-for-7 with two walks
- Jonathan Herrera: 0-for-7 with one walk
- Kris Bryant: 1-for-3 with one walk
- Addison Russell: 1-for-3
- Chris Coghlan: 1-for-2
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …