Cubs @ Twins: Series Thread (Games 38-40)
The Cubs took the final game of their homestand to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Cardinals. They enter the road trip 18-19 and holding at third in the NL Central. The Pirates are one for their last ten and the Brewers are two for their last ten, but they maintain first and second respectively as every NL Central team has a losing record over the same span. The Twins, on the other hand, sit atop a weak AL Central. Offseason additions Carlos Correa and Christian Vazquez have done little to contribute to the team's success thus far, while Byron Buxton and Joey Gallo are each doing their thing. See below for matchups.
Game 38, Friday, May 12, 7:10 pm central
MIN: RHP Sonny Gray (4-0, 1.35 ERA)
CHC: LHP Drew Smyly (3-1, 3.05 ERA)
The veteran Gray is the standout in the Minnesota's rotation so far. He's doing his usual--striking out more than a batter per inning and getting more than a fair share of ground balls. His last start he gave up a season high three earned runs on three walks and four hits over five innings.
Smyly went only 3.1 innings in his last outing, walking three and allowing three hits including a homerun over that time. He did strike five.
Game 39, Saturday, May 13, 1:10 pm central
MIN: RHP Joe Ryan (5-1, 2.45 ERA)
CHC: RHP Hayden Wesneski (2-1, 3.93 ERA)
The 26-year-old Ryan debuted in 2022 and made 27 starts. He put up a very solid season and relied on strikeouts and good control while allowing a lot of contact in the air. He's showing improved control this season and is inducing more contact on the ground. He did allow a season high eight hits in his last start, but he walked none and held the opposition to only two earned runs in six innings.
Wesneski has shown significant improvement of late, allowing one earned run in each of his last three starts. Last time, he also struck out six, showing he can still miss bats.
Game 40, Sunday, May 14, 1:10 pm central
MIN: RHP Louie Varland (0-0, 4.32 ERA)
CHC: RHP Marcus Stroman (2-3, 2.28 ERA)
Varland is only 25 and made five MLB starts in 2022. He's made three starts in 2023 and has been hurt by homeruns. Last time out he allowed no homers and held the opposition to one earned run.
Stroman has been great solid since Opening Day, excepting a rough outing on April 23. Last time he took a loss despite allowing only two earned runs in six innings.