Well MLB is forcing the Cubs to play this game so have to do a game preview. The fact this couldn't be moved to the end of the season is really annoying. Chicago will have 33 consecutive days with a scheduled game. Even the day a game wasn't played last Sunday, they had show up and prepare to play. The grind has begun to take a toll, with the Cubs losing six of nine.
The Northsiders arrive in DC with just a one-game division lead over the Brewers. Milwaukee just won two of three at Wrigley Field and are on a tear. Every game becomes huge at this point and the Cubs have no time for complaints, even valid complaints.
Joe Maddon has shaken up his lineup for this one-day road trip. Anthony Rizzo leads off and David Bote makes his first career start in the outfield as a professional. Mike Montgomery has struggled since coming back from the disabled list. The Cubs sure could use a good effort from him today.
Thursday: 3:05 pm CT on MLB Network/NBC Sports Chicago/670AM
Lineups and Bullpen Usage via Baseball Press.
Scouting Report from Brooks Baseball.
Joe Ross: Although he has not thrown an MLB pitch in 2018, Joe Ross threw 4,118 pitches that were tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2014 and 2017, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, the MLB Postseason and Spring Training. In 2017, he relied primarily on his Sinker (92mph) and Slider (86mph), also mixing in a Change (85mph). He also rarely threw a Curve (81mph).
His sinker results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers. His slider has much less depth than expected, has primarily 12-6 movement and results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' sliders. His change generates fewer whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' changeups. His curve has very little depth, has primarily 12-6 movement, is slightly harder than usual and results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' curves.
Sean's Note: Ross got Tommy John surgery in the middle of 2017 and ignoring two innings that got washed out last Friday hasn't pitched in 2018. He is a fly ball pitcher and got killed by homers in his abbreviated season. Left handers especially hit him well with an average over .300 in 2017.