Chicago Cubs: Joe Maddon returns home, Cubs seek seven straight

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 14: Joe Maddon /

Riding high off consecutive sweeps, Joe Maddon and the Chicago Cubs head to Tampa to take on the Rays, looking to extend the winning streak to seven games.

After a brief off-day Monday, the Chicago Cubs return to action Tuesday in a familiar place for Joe Maddon. As the Cubs battle the Rays in Tampa Bay, the previous home and managing site for nine seasons for Maddon, it’ll be Mike Montgomery (6-8, 3.57 ERA) taking the ball against Chris Archer (9-10, 4.06 ERA).

"“I’m really eager to go back just to get home. I haven’t been there in the summer for a bit,” said Maddon about his return to Tampa."

The two teams played over the July Fourth holiday, splitting two games. Now the Cubs look to keep winning and extend their lead in the NL Central as the season winds down over the remaining weeks.

Montgomery returns to rotation

Montgomery will make his first start since Sep. 9, when he lasted just two innings against the Brewers in a 15-2 loss.

In that outing, he allowed four runs, walked four and struck out two. Montgomery last pitched out of the bullpen against the Mets Sep. 14, also throwing two innings. However, that was a much better result as he struck out two, walked one, and picked up the win.

In 12 starts for Montgomery this season, he is 4-5 with a 4.62 ERA.

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For Archer, to say it’s been a rough patch of late would be an understatement.

Since his last win Aug. 27 against the Cardinals, he has tossed just seven innings over his last three combined starts. In his last outing against the Yankees, Archer went four innings, allowed three runs on six hits, struck out five, and walked three.

Before that, he recorded three innings in Boston and did not record an out against the White Sox.

On July 4, he beat the Cubs, as he gave up three runs over six innings.

Schwarber DH’s, Bryant sits

Being at an AL park means Joe Maddon can employ his own DH secret weapon which is exactly what Kyle Schwarber is Tuesday night, batting fifth. As a DH this season, Schwarber is slashing .286/.375/.714 with three home runs and seven RBI over 28 AB.

Third baseman Kris Bryant will take a seat. Bryant is batting .385 over his last seven days and has a six-game hitting streak (10-for-26). He is 2-for-10 over his last two games with five strikeouts and a double.

Javier Baez will play third base, where he has just 15 AB there this season, having primarily occupied second base and shortstop.

This series will mark the second time the Cubs have been to Tropicana Field to face the Rays, who swept Chicago in 2008.

Next: Lance Lynn makes sense for the Cubs in 2018

What’s next

Wednesday concludes the season series between the Chicago Cubs and Tampa Bay Rays. Jon Lester (11-7, 4.30 ERA) opposes Blake Snell (3-6, 4.25 ERA).

First pitch from Tropicana Field is 6:10 pm C.T.