Coming off a dramatic win, the Chicago Cubs carry some semblance of momentum heading into a weekend series against the Cincinnati Reds.
It looked as if the Chicago Cubs were headed toward dropping three-of-four to the Washington Nationals. With two outs in the top of the ninth, the team trailed. But several two-out hits propelled Joe Maddon‘s club to a come-from-behind win, salvaging a series split.
Chicago (40-39) hands the ball to Mike Montgomery (1-4, 2.50) – their left-hander who has been the epitome of consistency out of the rotation. Friday marks his fifth start of the season, one he began as the Cubs’ long-man in the bullpen.
In those four outings, Montgomery owns a respectable 3.00 ERA, to go along with a 2.38 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Longevity has been his biggest adversary, but that will likely improve with time. His last time out, the southpaw allowed three runs in six innings against Miami.
Kris Bryant sits out again Friday with his ankle injury. In his stead, the hot (.308 AVG in his last 7 G) Javier Baez handles duties at the hot corner. Rookie catcher Victor Caratini, who replaced the recently-DFAd Miguel Montero on the roster, gets his first big-league start.
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As for Cincinnati (33-45), former Cubs hurler Scott Feldman takes the ball. The right-hander enters Friday with a 4.07 ERA and a 6-5 record.
He won’t face the full-power Chicago lineup, though. With several key players sidelined, the Cubs put up one of their younger lineups in the series opener.
On the plus side, the Cubs enter play against the Reds this season with a 5-1 record and hope to continue that trend over the weekend at Great American Ballpark.
The Cubs are in Cincinnati to take on the Reds in the start of a three-game series.