Chicago Cubs vs Tampa Bay Rays – Series Preview (May 29-31): Overview, Game and Broadcast Info, Starting Pitchers, W2W4

The Cubs (22-30) are still mired in a major slump with the latest setback being a three-game sweep at the hands of the Reds. They are wrapping up a brutal month of May in which they have gone 8-17 to drop into dead last in the National League Central. Things hardly get easier to end the month as the unstoppable Rays come to Wrigley for three games starting on Memorial Day.

Tampa Bay (39-16) is off to one of the hottest starts in MLB history and shows very little sign of slowing down. Their pitching unit is among the top 10 in baseball, especially a rotation that could lay claim to being the best in the game. Staff ace Shane McClanahan has a 1.97 ERA in 11 starts and Tyler Glasnow recently returned from Tommy John surgery. If there is an issue, the bullpen has been leaky at times with some blown leads along the way.

The Rays offense has been unbelievable in 2023 with an .848 team OPS. For context, the second-place Atlanta Braves have a .799 OPS. Tampa also leads the league in home runs, as Wander Franco, Randy Arozarena, and Yandy Diaz are all having massive seasons.

Almost anyone the Cubs play right now would be a difficult challenge for them, but now they are playing the best squad in baseball. Things might get pretty ugly the next three days and, while anything could happen, it’s probably best to buckle up for a rough ride.

Game Time and Broadcast Info

  • Monday, May 29 at 1:20pm CT on Marquee.
  • Tuesday, May 30 at 7:05pm CT on Marquee.
  • Wednesday, May 31 at 1:20pm CT on Marquee.

Starting Pitchers

Date Pitcher Age T ERA W/L FIP K/BB
5/29 Marcus Stroman 32 R 2.95 4-4 3.74 2.31
Taj Bradley 22 R 4.44 3-1 3.25 8.50
5/30 Kyle Hendricks 33 R 6.23 0-1 3.06 2.50
Shane McClanahan 26 R 1.97 8-0 3.33 3.00
5/31 Justin Steele 27 L 2.77 6-2 2.86 3.56
Zach Eflin 25 R 3.17 7-1 3.73 7.43

What to Watch For

  • Patrick Wisdom homered twice on Sunday so maybe he will go on one of his patented hot streaks.
  • Mike Tauchman had three hits in the final game against the Reds and will continue to get a lot of playing time with Cody Bellinger out at least two more weeks.
  • Harold Ramirez, who was briefly with the Cubs last spring, is having a big year with an .854 OPS and eight homers as the Rays DH.
  • Hendricks looked decent after a shaky start and makes his second appearance off the injured list Tuesday.
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