By Bruce Levine—
CHICAGO (CBS) — The Cubs set their rotation for the White Sox series this upcoming week, with a four-man mix that won’t include Jose Quintana. The teams play two at Wrigley Field on Monday and Tuesday and then their series moves to the South Side for Wednesday and Thursday.
Kyle Hendricks makes his first start since June 4 on Monday. He was dealing with a sprained ligament in his right hand. John Lackey goes Tuesday, and Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester handle the games at Guaranteed Rate Field. Left-hander Mike Mongomery will return to the bullpen Saturday with Hendricks return to the mound.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon still wants to move to a six-man rotation at some point for a brief period of time.
“We will look what is happening (with rotation health) in August,” Maddon said. “Guys have missed some time because of injury. So there is that sixth man almost automatically. If we want to keep Montgomery stretched out, we will just pop him back out there. We haven’t had that discussion yet. It is still a possibility.”
Kris Bryant returns from finger injury
The Cubs welcomed back third baseman Kris Bryant to the lineup Saturday against the Cardinals.
Bryant injured the pinkie finger on his left hand during an awkward slide into third base Wednesday in Atlanta. After treatment the last three days, he can now grip a bat and hit again.
“It is those good supplements there,” Maddon quipped. “That is some good fish oil. It is nice that he came back so quickly. It happened the same way when he hurt his ankle. I talked to him on the bench yesterday. We decided to wait until today to decide if he could play or not. He took some BP in the cage. It is a little bit sore. It is not 100 percent, but he is ready to go.”
Bryant is hitting .275 with 19 home runs and 40 RBIs. He’s fourth in the National League in walks and ninth in runs scored.
The Cubs rotation has had five quality starts in the seven games they’ve played since the All-Star break, with a 6-1 overall team record. The starters have posted a 2.14 ERA with a 5-0 record. Opposing hitters are batting just .180 against the starters during that period. The Cubs are 33-15 when the starters go six innings or more this season. The rotation is 27-10 in those games with a 2.72 ERA.
Chicago is one of five NL teams with a .500 or better winning percentage at home and on the road, going 24-21 at Wrigley Field and 25-25 on the road after their 6-0 trip to open the second half. The bullpen ERA went up 0.20 to 3.51 after allowing nine runs in the eighth inning Friday. The bullpen is still ranked second in the NL, with the Dodgers posting a 2.90 ERA.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.