The Chicago Cubs broke out of their offensive doldrums with 16 runs on Wednesday.
Now they’re poised to catch a break when they won’t have to face New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom as they shoot for a sweep of the three-game home series on Thursday.
deGrom asked Mets manager Luis Rojas for an extra day of rest, so instead of the Cubs facing a two-time Cy Young Award winner who has a 0.45 ERA through two starts this season, they will oppose left-hander Joey Lucchesi (0-1, 5.40 ERA).
“Asking for an extra day, I think, is OK,” Rojas said. “But it just blends with Lucchesi as well. It’s early in the season. I know we want to get as many starts as we can from a guy like Jake, but we also want Jake for the whole season. I’m not saying he’s in a situation where his health is compromised, but it’s just an extra day knowing Lucchesi can come back because he made less than 60 pitches.”
Rojas was referring to Lucchesi’s most recent start, which came in the nightcap of Saturday’s doubleheader at Colorado. He worked just three innings, allowing three runs on four hits with zero walks and three strikeouts.
Lucchesi has pitched five innings over two appearances this season. He has struggled in his career against the Cubs, going 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA in two starts over 10 innings, with 12 strikeouts and two home runs allowed.
The Cubs piled up 13 hits in their 16-4 rout on Wednesday night. A day earlier, Chicago won 3-1 despite mustering just four hits.
Cubs manager David Ross said his players have maintained good morale as they try to build consistency.
It starts with leadoff hitter Ian Happ, who is batting just .167 but is making good contact and leads the team in walks (13).
“He’s hit some balls hard at times with not a lot to show for it,” Ross said. “I think he’s coming. Do I feel like he’s locked in like the version we saw last year? Not quite yet. But I think the great thing about Ian, even when he’s in between or not quite as comfortable as he wants to be, he’s still taking his walks, he still hits the ball real hard the other way.
“But I still think Ian’s still working on being even a better version of himself than he is right now.”
Chicago right-hander Trevor Williams (2-1, 5.02 ERA) is set to get the call as he seeks his second victory of the homestand.
On Saturday, Williams limited the Atlanta Braves to one run on four hits in five innings with three walks and four strikeouts.
In four career starts against the Mets, he is 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA, with 17 strikeouts and 10 walks in 26 innings.
The Cubs have won three of four, while the Mets have lost three of four.
–Field Level Media