Preview: Twins at Cubs
CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs‘ starting pitchers may not be performing as consistent as they would like, but Joe Maddon’s offense is finding ways to make up for it.
Addison Russell‘s grand slam helped bail out starter Mike Montgomery in Friday’s series opener against the Minnesota Twins. Now, as Tyler Chatwood takes the mound in Saturday’s matinee interleague game at Wrigley Field, the Cubs will push for their third straight victory after they rallied for their second consecutive come-from-behind win Friday at Wrigley Field.
Russell’s blast erased a three-run deficit en route to a 10-6 victory that included home runs by Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist and Kyle Schwarber. The win came a day after the Cubs scored seven runs in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The run support could be big for Chatwood, who has struggled throughout the season and will make his first start after being activated off the paternity list earlier this week. Chatwood told reporters Friday that he feels good and that he was able to come in and throw a bullpen session as he prepared for Saturday’s start.
He admitted the uncertainty of when his wife would give birth weighed on him in his last start. Chatwood (3-5, 3.95 ERA) has taken no-decisions in four of his past five starts but was effective in his most recent outing. Chatwood allowed a run and two hits in five innings against the Dodgers when he threw 101 pitches. He is 0-2 in three career starts against the Twins with a 6.91 ERA.
“Luckily, everything worked out,” Chatwood said Friday of the week’s events, according to the Chicago Tribune. “Everybody’s good.”
Chatwood will start after the Cubs hoped Yu Darvish could return from a right triceps injury on Saturday. Darvish, who experienced pain in a bullpen session on Thursday, flew to Dallas for a second opinion. Tests showed he has a right elbow impingement and inflammation and will be re-evaluated in three to five days.
The Twins, who have lost six of their last eight games despite Joe Mauer‘s five RBIs in Friday’s loss, will attempt to get back on track when left-hander Adalberto Mejia makes his first start of the season. Mejia, who went 4-7 with a 4.50 ERA in 21 starts last year, has spent the entire season in the minor leagues.
Mejia pitched well at Triple-A Rochester and struck out 50 and registered a 2.74 ERA in 49 1/3 innings. He has posted a 4-1 record in June with a 1.41 ERA with 30 strikeouts in 32 innings. Mejia will face the Cubs for the first time in his career.
The Twins announced this week that they would recall Mejia at a time that manager Paul Molitor said makes sense for everyone involved.
“The reports have been his command has been much better,” Molitor told reporters earlier this week, according to the team’s official website. “More efficient. His off-speed seems to be working. His changeup is the only pitch that’s been hot and cold. His fastball-slider command has been really good. He’s had a handful of good outings in a row. Efficient is good.”