Cubs begin two-game set against surging Indians

MLB Baseball

The Chicago Cubs could add yet another player to their injury list prior to starting a brief two-game set against the host Cleveland Indians on Tuesday.

The Cubs are trending upward following a 5-1 homestand, but center fielder Jake Marisnick is expected to land on the injured list after straining his right hamstring on Sunday.

“He’s played great,” manager David Ross said. “He’s somebody that is a sparkplug when he’s out there, especially against lefties. He gives us great defense when he’s in there. He’s been dealing with some tightness down there for a while, and it’s trying to manage all that and still get him in there. He’s a big part of this team and hopefully he’s not out too long.”

Marisnick was hitting .289 with four homers and 13 RBIs over his last 15 games — entering Sunday — for Chicago, which is back at .500 following its successful homestand.

The Cubs are facing a well-rested Cleveland team that had consecutive off-days after Sunday’s series finale against Cincinnati was postponed due to inclement weather.

The Indians were no-hit for the second time in less than a month on Friday but bounced back with a 9-2 win over the Reds on Saturday.

Cleveland has won 10 of its last 13 games and has gone 17-1 when scoring at least four runs.

Second baseman Cesar Hernandez delivered a three-run triple in Saturday’s win and is 8-for-29 over his last seven games after batting .176 in his first 24 games.

“Cesar’s going to hit,” manager Terry Francona said. “You’ve heard me say it a million times, it’ll be fun watching him get to his level. He’s starting to feel a little better about himself, which is good.”

Indians starter Shane Bieber (3-2, 2.98 ERA) received a no-decision last Wednesday when he allowed four runs (three earned) on nine hits in six innings. He struck out nine to extend his major league record to 19 straight games with at least eight strikeouts.

The 2020 American League Cy Young Award winner has 77 strikeouts against 15 walks in his first seven starts covering 48 1/3 innings this season. The right-hander is making his first career appearance against the Cubs.

Chicago rookie Adbert Alzolay (1-2, 4.50) is looking to build on another promising outing last Wednesday, when he allowed two runs and struck out seven over five innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The 26-year-old right-hander has allowed two runs in each of his last three starts, going 1-0 with a 3.45 ERA and 20 strikeouts over that stretch. He’s set to make his first career appearance against the Indians.

Chicago’s lineup could be a mystery until first pitch with Marisnick likely to join Ian Happ (rib contusion) and Nico Hoerner (left forearm strain) on the injured list.

Right fielder Jason Heyward is listed as day-to-day after leaving Sunday’s game with a right hand injury, which means Kris Bryant could see more time in the outfield.

Bryant hasn’t played third base since April 20 while helping out at all three outfield positions. The constant movement hasn’t affected his offense, however. Bryant has hit safely in 17 of his last 20 games, batting .355 (27-for-76) with six homers and 16 RBIs over that stretch.

–Field Level Media

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