Top prospects set to clash as Chicago Cubs visit Twins


After dropping yesterday evening’s game to the Cleveland Indians, Joe Maddon and the Chicago Cubs will find themselves in Minnesota for a three-game weekend set with the Twins.

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As we all know, Minnesota’s top prospect in Byron Buxton was recently called up to join the crop of elite rookie players such as Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Joc Pederson, Joey Gallo, Kyle Schwarber and Carlos Correa.

Tonight, Kyle Hendricks will take the mound in hopes of getting his team back on track, falling three games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates in the N.L. Central. Hendricks (2-2, 3.80 ERA) is coming off a strong outing just six days ago while hosting the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field.

In five innings of work, the 25-year-old right-hander held Todd Frazier and company to only one earned run on four hits (one home run) with seven strikeouts before exiting the game. His ERA has flexed during the early part of the year, starting at 10.38 to begin the season, eventually dropping to his current mark of 3.80.

While the Cubs (35-29) continue to chase the first-place St. Louis Cardinals, the Minnesota Twins (36-30) picked up a series split with the Redbirds, winning yesterday’s contest by the final score of 2-1. Their four-game set with St. Louis featured three one-run decisions while Wednesday’s win was a two-run difference.

Taking the mound for the home team will be 28-year-old veteran, Phil Hughes. Hughes (4-6, 4.79 ERA) has failed to pick up a win in his previous three outings, entering tonight’s contest with a two-game losing streak under his belt but was issued a no-decision on June 14 against the Texas Rangers.

Rookie Joey Gallo drilled his fourth career home run off Hughes during the bottom half of the second which cut Minnesota’s lead down to just one run. Leonys Martin later followed that up with the second solo big fly of the inning, tying the game at two apiece.

Buxton finished that game 1-for-4 with two strikeouts but scored the game-winning run during the top of the ninth inning. Eddie Rosario plated the young outfielder on his fifth double of the season with reliever Shawn Tolleson on the mound.

This second-place Twins team will have their hands full with this lineup that scored 17 runs against the Indians just two days ago. Both Russell and Bryant homered on Wednesday while Schwarber recorded his first big league homer in yesterday’s 4-3 loss.

Here’s a look at tonight’s lineup’s:

First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. central time and will air live on WGN, WBBM 780.

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