CHICAGO — The Chicago

Cubs had hoped to use the past four days to maintain or pad their lead in the National League Central , but the weather certainly didn’t cooperate.Heading into a pivotal three-game series against the second-place Milwaukee Brewers, the Cubs will attempt to again create some distance. The series opens a day after Chicago’s scheduled series finale against the Washington Nationals was washed out by rain, which was a constant throughout the weekend.The Cubs will attempt to bounce back after being swept in a Saturday doubleheader that was forced after Friday’s scheduled game was rained out as well.Article continues below ...“The bright side is just getting through (the weekend),” Cubs manager Joe Maddon told reporters Sunday, according to the Chicago Tribune. “We’ve done really well through this stretch. I’ve been really pleased with it and it’s not easy to do what we’ve been doing over the past couple of weeks and how well we’ve actually played.”Despite losing their past two games, the Cubs are 4-4 in their last eight games, which had allowed the Cubs to maintain their cushion over the Brewers. But the margin has been trimmed to two games after Milwaukee completed a three-game sweep of the San Francisco Giants on Sunday with a 6-3 victory.The Brewers will enter Monday’s series opener having won eight of their past 10 games and captured two of three from the Cubs last week. Now, with the Cubs within reach, the Brewers head to Chicago with the front-runners in their sights.“Something we’ve been talking about (is) ‘Don’t think about the wild card — think about the division,” said Brewers pitcher Jhoulys Chacin, who will take the mound Tuesday. “We have the chance this week. It feels really important now.”Jon Lester will take the mound as the Cubs attempt to get back on a winning track after the wet weekend in Washington.Lester (15-5, 3.53 ERA) has won three of his past four starts but hasn’t pitched since Sept. 2. Lester threw six scoreless innings in his last outing against the Philadelphia Phillies when he scattered six hits and struck out seven.Lester was scheduled to pitch Friday Christian Yelich Jersey , but when the game was rained out, it allowed the Cubs ace to open the series against Milwaukee on Monday rather than pitch Wednesday’s series finale.Lester is 4-2 with a 2.40 ERA in seven career starts against the Brewers.Milwaukee will counter with Wade Miley (3-2, 2.12) as the Brewers attempt to continue to close the gap. Miley has won just won of his six previous starts but shut down the Cubs last week when he allowed just one earned run in six innings while allowing just three hits and striking out five. Miley is 5-2 with a 4.13 ERA in eight career starts against the Cubs.Miley has allowed three or fewer runs in each of his 12 starts with the Brewers and, like the rest of his teammates, believe that catching the Cubs and capturing the division title is well within reach.“Why wouldn’t it be? Heck, yeah,” Miley said after his last start, according to the Brewers’ official website. “I don’t think you quit thinking about it until you can’t think about it no more. I think that’s the way to go about it.” The Los Angeles Dodgers are hoping recent MLB history repeats itself.The Dodgers pulled off the biggest move of the 2018 trade season when they acquired superstar shortstop Manny Machado from the Baltimore Orioles one day after the All-Star Game.The Dodgers gave up minor league prospectsRylan Bannon, Yusniel Diaz, Dean Kremer, Zach Pop and Breyvic Valera to get Machado.A year ago, the Houston Astros acquired right-handed starter Justin Verlander prior to the trade deadline , and his arrival helped them capture the 2017 World Series. The Chicago Cubs traded for closer Aroldis Chapman a year earlier and were able to win the World Series over the Cleveland Indians in 2016.Machado, who is scheduled to become a free agent at the conclusion of this season, told the Baltimore Sun's Jon Meoli before his trade that he wants to play shortstop throughout the rest of his career. He moved from third base to shortstop this year, but he has been forced to play third base for the Dodgers due to Justin Turner's groin injury. Turner is on the 10-day disabled listDodgers manager Dave Roberts told Andy McCullough of theLos Angeles Timesthat Machado was quite willing to return to third base to help the team while Turner is out with a groin injury.Machado has a .312/.385/.564 slash line with 25 home runs and 67 RBI this season, and one of those home runs came in a Dodger uniform.The Orioles have not stopped since trading Machado, either, sending closer Zach Britton to the New York Yankees for pitching prospectsDillon Tate, Cody Carroll and Josh Rogers on Wednesday. Tate and Carroll are right-handed pitchers, while Rogers is a southpaw.The move seemed curious on the surface because the Yankees had perhaps the game's most powerful bullpen with Chapman, Dellin Betances, David Robertson and Chad Green. However, Chapman has struggled quite a bit in the last month. He has a 7.20 ERA in his last seven appearances Yovani Gallardo Jersey , and knee issues may keep him from being at his best.The addition of Britton could pay huge dividends for the Yankees if Chapman does not regain his best form.Teams still have three more days to complete trades before Tuesday's trade deadline, and big names could continue to be on the move.Adam Jones could be the next Oriole on the move prior to the trade deadline.Gail Burton/Associated PressThe Orioles may continue their housecleaning by moving five-time All-Star outfielder Adam Jones. MLB Network's Jon Morositweeted that the Indians and the Philadelphia Phillies both have interest in Jones.Cleveland is in excellent shape to win the AL Central title, but the Indians know the biggest battles will come in the postseason against potential opponents such as the Boston Red Sox, Astros and Yankees. Adding a big bat like Jones could pay huge dividends for the Indians, who lost the seventh game of the World Series in extra innings to the Cubs two years ago.The Phillies have a narrow 2.5-game edge over the Atlanta Braves in the NL East, but the battle could go down to the final days of the regular season. The presence of Jones in the lineup could give the Phillies the edge.Jones has a .281/.307/.430 slash line with 11 home runs and 42 RBI going into Saturday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays.Minnesota Twins right-handed pitcher Kyle Gibson is not a superstar, but he has become a dependable pitcher for the Twins with a 3.42 ERA and 126 strikeouts in 129 innings. He shut down the hard-hitting Red Sox at Fenway Park Thursday night by allowing just one run in an eight-inning effort, and he looks like he could be an excellent add for any contending team.Predictably, he is generating interest, according to Fox Sports'Ken Rosenthal. However, if the Twins would need an impressive package in return to move Gibson since he is not eligible to become a free agent until 2020.
Posted in Default Category on February 12 at 08:11 AM

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