The team has won five games in a row and will try to stretch it to six on Wednesday afternoon in a Fourth of July matinee.
“Everything is believable,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon told reporters when asked about his team’s recent hot streak. “We believe in everything right now. Santa Claus is absolutely true.
“When you get to that point and you get that kind of confidence, you don’t want to do anything to nick it.”
Chicago (48-35) has climbed 13 games above .500 to match its high-water mark. The Cubs have a chance to set a new high when they host the Detroit Tigers (38-49) in the finale of a two-game series at Wrigley Field.
All of the Cubs’ five wins during the streak have been in come-from-behind fashion.
“One of our concepts is to score first,” Maddon said. “One of our concepts is to win the inning. But I think this is maybe the residue of our starting pitching not being what it probably is. We’ve given up more runs early from our starters that we didn’t anticipate happening.
“But it’s a tightly knit group. They’re there to pick everybody else up. So, OK, they’ve scored a couple runs. There’s no quit. The chatter in the dugout is great, all that stuff is outstanding. I just think that the come-from-behind component right now is based on our starters not pitching to their capabilities yet.”
That said, the Cubs will look for a solid start from left-hander Jose Quintana (6-6, 4.31 ERA) in his 17th start of the season. The 29-year-old has allowed three earned runs or fewer in nine of his past 12 starts.
In 18 career starts against the Tigers, Quintana is 5-5 with a 4.37 ERA. The Colombia native has walked 26 and struck out 82 in 111 1/3 innings.
The Tigers will counter with veteran left-hander Francisco Liriano (3-4, 3.99 ERA), who is scheduled to make his 13th start of the season. The burly southpaw carries a career record of 105-103 with a 4.14 ERA in 335 career games.
More than a few teams could be scouting the 34-year-old Liriano as the trade deadline approaches. He is coming off a quality start against the Toronto Blue Jays but has not logged a victory since April 17 against the Baltimore Orioles.
In 14 career starts against the Cubs, Liriano is 5-4 with a 3.27 ERA. He most recently faced the club in 2016, when he posted an 0-2 record with a 7.63 ERA in three starts with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Toronto Blue Jays.
The Tigers could turn to a six-man rotation in the next couple weeks Giants Game Jerseys , which is fine with Liriano.
“I think that would work,” Liriano said recently to mlive.com. “It wouldn’t bother me at all. I don’t know about any other guys. (Blaine) Hardy has been doing a great job, so it’s hard to put him in the bullpen with the way he’s throwing the ball right now. I think that’s a great idea.”
Injured Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant (shoulder) is not expected to play Wednesday. He is hitting .280 with nine home runs and 36 RBIs in 66 games this season.
A fist pump and a late fastball on the cusp of 100 mph was all the indication needed to know just how good German Marquez felt Saturday.
He pitched two-hit ball over eight innings and Ian Desmond homered as the Colorado Rockies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1.
Marquez (6- retired his first 15 batters before Enrique Hernandez connected for a home run off the left-field foul pole leading off the sixth. After a Chase Utley single, Marquez dispatched the Dodgers on three fly balls to end the inning and pumped his right fist to emphasize the moment.
”Isn’t that great? I loved that” Rockies manager Bud Black said of the fist pump. ”He uses (his energy) with his fastball. I want him to use it with his fastball but not overthrow. There is a time you can stand on a pitch and lean on it and I think he does that.”
He appeared to do just that with his fastball in the eighth inning. Facing Hernandez two innings after the home run, Marquez struck out the Dodgers’ utility man on a 99.9 mph fastball.
”No doubt I let it rip on that one,” Marquez said through an interpreter. ”But I worked hard in my preparation in between starts and my goal is to maintain my stamina deep into games. I think today I was able to accomplish that.”
Marquez struck out nine and walked none after entering with a 5.53 ERA, third-worst among qualified National League starters.
The Rockies closed out June with three consecutive victories and two consecutive over the Dodgers after getting swept by Los Angeles in a three-game series at Coors Field to begin the month. Colorado finished June with an 11-16 record.
Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda (5-5) gave up three runs, two earned, on five hits over seven innings and lost for the first time in four June starts. He had a short stint on the disabled list during the month due to a right hip strain. He struck out nine for the second consecutive start.
”It was a good outing,” Maeda said through an interpreter. ”My desire is to be able to pitch deeper into the game and being able to pitch seven innings and is a good thing. But unfortunately, we didn’t get the win and that was something we wanted.”
The Rockies took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when DJ LeMahieu scored from third base on a passed ball by catcher Yasmani Grandal. Nolan Arenado struck out, but advanced to first with LeMahieu scoring when the ball got through Grandal.
Desmond went deep in the fifth for a 2-0 lead. It was his 17th home run of the season and career-best 13th on the road.
Trevor Story doubled for the Rockies in the seventh and scored on Chris Iannetta’s single to make it 3-1.
After a strong start to the month, the Dodgers finished June with a 17-9 record, losing four of their last five games.
CLOSER FOR THE DAY
Rockies reliever Adam Ottavino pitched the ninth Saturday for his second save. Closer Wade Davis Jets Game Jerseys , who earned the save after Tyler Anderson’s eight-inning outing Friday, was given the night off.
”He pitched great and he deserved to win,” Ottavino said of Marquez. ”That’s two games straight that we got eight innings out of our starters so we appreciate that down in the bullpen. I think everybody does on the team so I think that was just an awesome job by (Marquez).”
Davis is expected to return to the closer role Sunday.
DODGERS DRIVE 55
Hernandez’s home run gave the Dodgers 55 in the month of June, to increase their franchise record for a month. The previous record of 53 was set in June of last season.
His home run was his 14th of the season and third this week. Max Muncy and Joc Pederson each finished with 10 home runs in June. Pederson has 11 on the season.
”I worked really hard in the off season to get stronger and get in better shape,” said Hernandez, whose previous best was 11 home runs last season. ”Last year I hit a lot of doubles and this year those doubles are turning into homers. Hopefully we can keep swinging the bats in July the way we are in June.”
Rockies: OF David Dahl (broken right foot) is out of a walking boot and will join the team Monday in Colorado to continue his rehab.
Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler (right rib microfracture), who made one appearance this week after returning from the DL, will likely need two starts at Class A Rancho Cucamonga before he returns to the Dodgers, according to manager Dave Roberts. … RHP Pedro Baez (right biceps tendinitis) threw a 30-pitch bullpen session, but no timetable for his return has been revealed.
Rockies right-hander Chad Bettis (5-1, 5.07 ERA) will be back on the road where he excels, as his five road victories were tied for third in the National League at the start of play Saturday. Dodgers right-hander Ross Stripling (6-2, 1.9 has a loss and a no-decision in his past two starts following a six-start win streak.
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