Pregame Notes: Chicago Cubs look to Hammel to win series

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After a big comeback last night against the Arizona Diamondbacks (20-22), the Chicago Cubs (24-18) are looking to ride that wave of momentum to win the weekend series in this afternoon’s matchup that will feature a pitching matchup of Jason Hammel (3-1, 2.70 ERA) versus Jeremy Hellickson (1-3, 5.52 ERA).

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Last nights game took some late inning heroics by the Cubs all-star first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo came through in a big way with a three-run homer in the ninth inning. Rizzo would finish the game with six RBI in the game to lead the Cubs to a 9-6 comeback victory.

Jake Arrieta, while not pitching his best game, wasn’t as bad as the numbers show against the D-Backs. Arrieta was charged with six runs, three of those runs earned, over six innings of work.

In today’s matchup, Cubs manager Joe Maddon will see a familiar face in opposing pitcher Jeremy Hellickson. Maddon managed Hellickson with Tampa Bay in 2010-2014. The young right-handed pitcher saw a lot of success with Maddon and the Rays – he won the American League Rookie of the Year in 2011. 

“He’s a great kid and a big part of what the Rays did” – Joe Maddon chicagocubs.com

May has been a rough month for Hellickson, he has a 5.82 ERA in four games. He has not won a game for the Diamondbacks since April 19.

While Hellickson is struggling over his last five outings, the same cannot be said for Jason Hammel. In his last five starts, Hammel is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA.

Here are the lineups for both teams in this afternoon’s game:

As usual, solid defense and capitalizing with runners in scoring position will be the keys to the game. Hammel has been lights out lately, but he cannot take it easy against a dangerous Arizona team that has hit the ball hard this series against the Cubs.

The Cubs may have a slight edge against Hellickson considering Maddon’s knowledge of his former pitcher. I’m sure he won’t hesitate to tell his hitters everything he knows about him.

Game time is set for 3:10 CT and can be seen on WGN and heard on WBBN 780.

Next: No Drama? That's not Cubs baseball then

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