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|CHICAGO — If Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon had his druthers Authentic Saquon Barkley Jersey , his team wouldn’t have played a pair of games Tuesday.
But as the Cubs head into Wednesday’s series finale against the defending National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers, Maddon certainly won’t complain about having the opportunity to claim a series victory.
How they had to do it, however, is a different story.
The Cubs earned a doubleheader split with a 2-1 nightcap victory after Albert Almora, Jr., delivered a 10th-inning single. The win came after the Cubs blew a ninth-inning lead in Tuesday’s first game, which the Dodgers rallied to win, 4-3.
Maddon expressed his displeasure with the split doubleheader format ahead of Wednesday’s matinee series finale. After Monday’s game was postponed due to the combination of inclement weather and electrical issues with Wrigley Field’s lights, Tuesday proved to be a long day for everyone involved.
“I don’t like it,” Maddon said Tuesday, according to the Chicago Tribune. “I don’t think it’s a good idea. To be here for a noon game and then a 7 o’clock game, that’s wrong. I don’t think there’s one player, manager, coach who thinks it’s a good idea.”
Maddon added: “I’m not crying. It’s just true. So it works for both sides. The Dodgers have to do the same thing. I’m not just talking about us. I’d just prefer a different method over the split doubleheader to appease when the game was rained out like it was (Monday) night.”
Maddon voiced his opinion ahead of Tuesday’s rescheduled series opener in which Cubs reliever Justin Wilson surrendered a two-out, two-run single in the ninth inning. Wilson pitched in place of closer Brandon Morrow, who was unavailable for Tuesday’s doubleheader due to back spasms. The Cubs didn’t make Morrow’s condition public until after Tuesday’s first game when Maddon said he was holding out Morrow for precautionary reasons. Morrow told reporters he considered his availability to be day-to-day.
After offense came at a premium in Tuesday’s second game, Wednesday’s showdown has all the makings of a pitcher’s duel.
Jon Lester (8-2, 2.28 ERA) takes the mound for the series finale looking to extend what has been a successful first half of the season. Lester has won four straight starts and has only allowed a pair of runs in three starts in June. Lester is 2-3 in seven career starts against the Dodgers.
The Dodgers will counter with Ross Stripling, who will take the mound with eyes set on his seventh straight victory. Stripling (6-1, 1.76 ERA) hasn’t lost since April 30 and has struck out at least six in each of his last seven starts. Over his last six starts, Stripling has struck out 47 and walked just two.
Stripling, who will make his first career start against the Cubs on Wednesday, has taken over the role as the Dodgers ace in the place of injured Clayton Kershaw. His strong start has made him a strong contender for a place on the National League All-Star team.
“You never know if you’ll have another chance in a six-, eight-, 10-year career to make an All-Star game,” Stripling said recently, according to the Loss Angeles Times. “I want to go out there and do my best to try and get there because it would be pretty cool.”
Stripling has the vote of teammate Matt Kemp.
“He needs to be in there,” Kemp said, according to the Times. “That boy is pitching his butt off. It’s fun to watch.”
MIAMI — The Arizona Diamondbacks are in first place in the National League West, and the Miami Marlins are last in the NL East.
Yet, this four-game series between Arizona and Miami — which started on Monday night with a 9-5 Marlins win — doesn’t have the feel of an elite juggernaut against a helpless loser.
The Marlins have won three games in a row and are 12-11 in June. They arrived home on Monday from their first winning road trip (5-4) of the season.
Miami on Tuesday will return right-hander Elieser Hernandez (0-4 Gabriel Landeskog Jersey Kids , 5.12 ERA) to the rotation after three weeks in the bullpen. He replaces Jose Urena, who is on the disabled list due to a shoulder injury.
Hernandez, a Rule 5 draft pick from the Houston Astros, had a 4.50 ERA during four starts in late May and early June.
The Diamondbacks, who have won four of their past five games, will start right-hander Zack Godley (8-5, 4.64 ERA).
Godley is 3-0 with a 2.95 ERA in his past three starts, striking out 21 batters in 18 1/3 innings.
His arsenal includes a low-90-mph sinker as well as a cutter and curve.
“Velocity is not a huge concern for me with Zack,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo told The Arizona Republic. “He has so much deception, spin and movement.”
Godley, who made his major league debut in 2015, is one win away from setting a single-season career high in wins. His career record is 26-19 with a 4.30 ERA. He averages 8.8 strikeouts per nine innings for his career as well as 9.0 in that stat this year.
Meanwhile, the Marlins are hoping to return their top player to the lineup — catcher J.T. Realmuto, who is batting .308 with 18 doubles, three triples, 10 homers, 32 RBIs and a .916 OPS.
Realmuto took a foul ball off his right wrist on Sunday and was rested on Monday.
“That last at-bat (on Sunday), he took a swing,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “You could tell something was bothering him.
“We think it will just be for one day. Let’s see how he feels. He was really sore (on Monday).”
The Marlins managed to win without Realmuto on Monday, in large part because starting pitcher Dan Straily (3-3) allowed just four hits, no walks and three runs in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out six for his first win since May 18.
“It was a good day for me,” said Straily, who was also effective on offense, getting one hit, drawing one walk and scoring two runs.
The Marlins had lost his past five starts, before Straily reversed the tide.
On Tuesday, Hernandez will try to keep Miami’s surge moving forward.
The Marlins cranked out 11 hits and nine runs on Monday, and they would love to give Hernandez that type of support on Tuesday.
Arizona, meanwhile, has a dangerous offense of its own. The Diamondbacks usually start quickly — they have scored a first-inning run in six of their past seven games — and they can catch fire from there.