If you’re just now waking up and haven’t heard the news, the Chicago Cubs have officially promoted Kris Bryant to the big league club, as he’s expected to make his major league debut against the San Diego Padres.
The first place Cubs are coming off two consecutive series’ victories over the Colorado Rockies and the Cincinnati Reds. Since the slow start against the St. Louis Cardinals on Opening Night, Chicago has managed to find its rhythm offensively, receiving run support from key players such as Dexter Fowler, Jorge Soler, Starlin Castro, Welington Castillo and finally Anthony Rizzo.
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Taking the mound for the home team today, will be 32-year-old right-hander, Jason Hammel. Hammel (1-0, 4.50 ERA) is coming off a win against the Rockies on Apr. 11 – a game in which he allowed three earned runs on eight hits with zero walks and six strikeouts in six innings.
While the Cubs were adding more pieces to their club, Theo Epstein, and Jed Hoyer managed to bring Hammel back after shipping him off to the Oakland Athletics alongside Jeff Samardzija last season. In 17 starts with the Cubs in 2014, Hammel carried a solid 2.88 ERA, 104/23 K/BB ratio, 1.02 WHIP and 8-5 record over to the West Coast.
Things went downhill from there, as he finished the second half of the season with a 4.26 ERA, bumping his season total to 3.47. Now that he’s back with the Cubs, Hammel is looking to get back to early 2014 form in hopes of helping this team reach the post-season.
Starting opposite of Hammel will be a man who eliminated the Athletics in the Wild Card playoff prior to reaching the World Series, James Shields. Shields (1-0, 2.08 ERA) won in his second outing of the year against the team who defeated him in the World Series, the San Francisco Giants.
In his stellar performance against the defending champs, Shields allowed just one run on three hits (one home run) with one walk and seven strikeouts. He also recorded his first hit as a Padre after pulling back on a bunt, slapping a ball to right field, advancing Clint Barmes to third base on a hit-and-run.
Although the Padres are among the top-10 when it comes to runs scored and earned run average, they shouldn’t take Chicago’s first place lineup lightly – especially now that Kris Bryant is in town.
Here’s a look at today’s lineups for both teams:
First pitch for today’s afternoon contest is scheduled for 1:20 pm central time and will be aired live on both ABC-7 and WBBM 780.