Chicago Cubs @ Tampa Bay Rays – Series Preview (June 11-13): Overview, Game and Broadcast Info, Starting Pitchers, W2W4

The Cubs (32-34) were able to salvage the final matchup of their series against the Reds to avoid a painful four-game sweep by their division rivals. Chicago was in every game but two one-run decisions went Cincinnati’s way due to several key errors. Craig Counsell is hoping his squad can finally tighten up the ship as they head to Florida for three with the Rays.

Tampa (31-35) is in a slump very similar to the Cubs right now and they have had significant offensive issues all season with a team OPS of .656 that is the worst in the American League. They have an MLB-low 50 home runs across the roster. Randy Arozarena and Yandy Díaz, both of whom were huge in last season’s 99-win campaign, have been ice cold so far in 2024.

One player who has bucked the trend is former Cub prospect Isaac Paredes, whose .849 OPS is by far the best on the Rays this season. The pitching staff is a bit better but not by much with a 4.42 ERA that is the 24th-lowest in baseball. The bullpen and starting rotation have almost identical numbers, which makes sense for the organization that really got the opener off the ground.

Zach Eflin, who came over from the Phillies, and Zack Littell have been the best two starters so far this season for Tampa. Left-hander Garrett Cleavinger and former Cub right-hander Jason Adam have been the most effective pieces in the bullpen.

This feels like a pretty even matchup between a pair of scuffling teams. Chicago has gone 4-4 so far in June after a very ugly May but the level of play doesn’t seem much higher with the turn of the calendar. The results in April demonstrated that this is a club capable of playing well if things ever start clicking again. Perhaps a relaxing trip to Florida will help because it’s not like anything else has worked lately.

Game Time and Broadcast Info

  • Tuesday, June 11 at 5:50pm CT on Marquee.
  • Wednesday, June 12 at 5:50pm CT on Marquee.
  • Thursday, June 13 at 5:50pm CT on MLB Network (out of market only) and Marquee.

Starting Pitchers

Date Pitcher Age T ERA W/L FIP K/BB
6/11 Jameson Taillon 32 R 3.47 3-2 4.10 2.69
Zach Eflin 30 R 4.14 3-4 3.55 11.75
6/12 Javier Assad 26 R 2.74 4-2 3.80 2.43
Aaron Civale 28 R 5.51 2–5 4.63 3.58
6/13 Justin Steele 28 L 3.65 0-3 3.99 3.58
Taj Bradley 23 R 5.17 1-4 5.03 3.90

What to Watch For

  • Infielder Luis Vázquez is in St. Petersburg, which might be an indication that Nico Hoerner may be going on the injured list with his broken hand.
  • Seiya Suzuki came back from an injury scare of his own after getting hit in the back during a steal Friday and reached base seven times during a series.
  • Dansby Swanson had three doubles in his last two games and is starting to drive the ball.
  • Steele pitched very well in his last start but was let down by his defense.
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