The Chicago Cubs will welcome in the Los Angeles Angels this weekend, an opponent that rarely makes its way to Wrigley Field.
It’s a matchup that we don’t often get to see at Wrigley. The Los Angeles Angels come in for three games to face the Chicago Cubs. Unfortunately, superstar Mike Trout is nursing an injury and might not play much this series. Bad for the fans, but good for the Cubs.
Shortly after Bryce Harper signed his record free-agent contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, much to the chagrin of Cubs fans, some of us are still having a hard time accepting that Harper won’t be a Cub. It was a record for AAV at that time–a very shortlived time.
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Trout topped that deal with a record contract of his own, agreeing to a 12-year contract extension, worth $430 million. This contract guarantees that Trout is an Angel for life, as he should be. A professional sports organization can’t let a player of that caliber walk away. Quite frankly, it’s a fireable offense.
Without Trout in the lineup, the Angels might not be as intimidating as they are with him anchoring it. He might not be the only one to not play much in this series.
Longtime Cubs’ killer Albert Pujols will likely also not be in the lineup, due to the National League having no DH. Pujols’ is a shell of his former self, but his career slash line against the Cubs is no joke. It reads .297/.399/.613, with a whopping 56 home runs. That tends to happen when the Cubs were largely bad for most of Pujols’ tenure in St. Louis, and he’s one of the greatest hitters ever to live.
What the Angels do have is outfielder Kole Calhoun is still manning right field, while former Cubs farmhand Justin Bour is a new addition to the infield. And we can’t forget ‘3 a.m.’, former Cubs infielder Tommy La Stella. La Stella hit three home runs against the Brewers in two games earlier this week when Los Angeles swept Milwaukee. He’ still a Cub at heart, beating Milwaukee.
The pitching matchups for the series see Tyler Skaggs facing Cole Hamels, Chris Stratton vs. Kyle Hendricks, and former Cub Trevor Cahill going up against Tyler Chatwood. Chatwood is filling in for the injured Jon Lester. The Cubs are hopeful about Lester’s injury status, however.
Chatwood has been clear he’d like to be a starter, and this will be a chance to prove that last year was a rarity, and he can be consistent as a starter. His numbers as a reliever have been good and he’s been valuable out of the bullpen with the struggles of the starting rotation.
On paper, the Cubs are the more talented team in this series, especially if Trout is unable to play. But when a team is 4-8 like the Cubs are, it’s hard to know what to expect. First pitch for all three matchups is set for 1:20 p.m., customary for Cubs’ home day games.
With the Brewers also facing a Los Angeles team over the weekend playing three games at Dodger Stadium, the Cubs have a chance to cut into their 3 1/2 game deficit in the division. It’s still early, and a lot will happen yet, but if there is a chance to make a move, teams have to make it.