Chicago Cubs News

Chicago Cubs give Montgomery spot start in Lackey’s absence

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Jul 17, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Mike Montgomery (37) throws against the Houston Astros during the first inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 17, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Mike Montgomery (37) throws against the Houston Astros during the first inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /
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With Jon Lackey on the DL, the Chicago Cubs will hand the ball to Mike Montgomery in a spot start as they hope to even the series following a heartbreaking loss on Friday night.

After suffering their fourth loss in August last night at Coors Field, the Chicago Cubs (77-44) look to rebound in Denver against the Colorado Rockies (59-63).

The Cubs will march out Mike Montgomery to make his first start of the season with the Cubs, his third start overall in 2016. He takes the place of John Lackey in the rotation.   Montgomery pitches well both at home and away, but his K/BB drastically decreases from 4.07 to 1.75 when he pitches on the road. This season for the Cubs. Montgomery has made seven relief appearances and hasn’t given up a run in his last four outings, totaling six innings. Only two of those four outings lasted two innings.

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Coach Joe Maddon said he was going to ““Let [Jason Heyward] chill a little bit for the weekend,” on Friday afternoon and has every reason to stick to his guns about it.

Heyward has been slumping in August, batting .188 with one RBI in 17 games. He has struggled mightily against lefties this year as well and with the Rockies sending two to the mound this weekend, Maddon’s timing couldn’t be any better. Heyward is hitting .148/.285/.538 with two total bases against the Rockies in 2016.

Rockies pitcher Jeff Hoffman will make his major league debut tonight against a red-hot Chicago offense. Hoffman is 6-9 with a 4.02 ERA in 118.2 innings for Triple-A Albuquerque this year.

“You’ve got to start your career at some point, “Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “And [Hoffman’s] is going to be today.”

In Hoffman’s last two starts, he’s pitched nine scoreless innings with four walks, four hits, and 13 strikeouts.

Hoffman was the centerpiece of the trade that sent Troy Tulowitzki to Toronto at last year’s trade deadline. Since this is his first full season of after having Tommy John surgery in 2014, the Rockies have been careful about limiting Hoffman’s innings. Last season, Hoffman pitched 104 innings between low and high-A ball.

“We’ve backed off on him recently just so if he did come up here, he could go deeper into games,” Weiss told reporters.

Scouts are quick to point out how effectively Hoffman utilizes his array of pitches.

“He’s got a live fastball with a lot of carry,” said Mark Wiley, Rockies’ director of pitching operations. “He can create angles with it. He can pitch at the top of the strike zone. His slider and curve, when they’re right, they’re following pretty good fastball line to the plate so they’re hard to pick up, and he has a changeup that looks like his fastball—good arm speed.”

The Cubs struggled against lefty Tyler Anderson’s changeup last night, recording five of his eight strikeouts.

The lineups for tonight’s game are as follows:

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