Fresh off a sweep of the Orioles in their first series after the All-Star break, the Cubs open a three-game set against the Braves at SunTrust Park on Monday night, looking to make their winning streak the precursor to a resurgent second half.
You can catch the Cubs and Braves, as well as all the other action around the Majors on Monday, on MLB.TV.
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Here's what to watch for on Monday (all times Eastern):
Sizzling Cubs make SunTrust debut: [email protected], 7:35 p.m.
The defending World Series champions get their first look at SunTrust Park behind Jonathan Lester, looking to cut further into the National League Central-leading Brewers' 4 1/2-game division lead. Lester is coming off the shortest outing of his career, exiting after 2/3 of an inning against the Pirates at Wrigley Field on July 9. He gave up 10 runs (four earned) on six hits, walking three and striking out none.
But with the Cubs' offense humming, Lester looks to turn the page on the season's first half. With Kyle Schwarber hitting since his return from Triple-A Iowa and Addison Russell awakening at the plate, Anthony Rizzo and Kristopher Bryant joined the party with homers Sunday in Baltimore. Willson Contreras also has been hot, batting .429 with three homers in his last 11 games.
The Braves, meanwhile, have been hot out of the break as well, sweeping the NL Wild Card-leading D-backs over the weekend. Atlanta's offense also got the job done, scoring 19 runs in the three-game set. Though Freddie Freeman has cooled off somewhat after a torrid return from the disabled list, Matt Kemp (4-for-12 in the series) picked up the slack, belting a three-run homer Sunday.
Right-hander Julio Teheran, who may be on the trade block as the July 31 Non-waiver Trade Deadline nears, is slated to start for Atlanta. The 26-year-old is coming off his best start of the season, tossing seven scoreless frames against the Nationals in Washington on July 8. He also went 2-for-2 with three RBIs in the 13-0 victory.
Derby doesn't have to end as Judge meets Sano: [email protected], 8:10 p.m.
The champion of the 2017 T-Mobile Home Run Derby, Aaron Judge, and runner-up, Miguel Sano, will square off again as the Yankees open a series against the Twins at Target Field. Judge blasted 47 homers across three rounds at Marlins Park, and Sano belted 32, losing to Judge in the final round, 11-10.
Both sluggers will look to break out of post-All-Star break slumps, with Judge going 1-for-18 with a single over the weekend, and Sano going 1-for-10 with a single.
The starting pitchers tasked with containing the two sluggers are the Yankees' Bryan Mitchell and the Twins' Adalberto Mejia.
Mitchell was among the pitchers called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday after Michael Pineda (Tommy John surgery) was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. Mitchell has appeared in 12 games for the Yankees this season, posting a 5.06 ERA. He had a 3.60 ERA in nine starts at Triple-A.
After two straight scoreless starts to end the month of June, Mejia has given up seven runs in 13 2/3 innings (4.61 ERA) in his last two outings.
While ace rehabs, Astros' No. 2 takes on Mariners: [email protected], 8:10 p.m.
With left-hander Dallas Keuchel scheduled to make a rehab start for Double-A Corpus Christi on Monday, his first outing since being placed on the disabled list with inflammation in his neck June 8, the Astros are closer to restoring their one-two punch of Keuchel and Lance McCullers at the top of the rotation.
McCullers will face the Mariners at Minute Maid Park on Monday night, coming off one of his worst outings of the season -- the right-hander gave up six runs (five earned) in 4 1/3 innings against the Blue Jays on July 6. But in two starts against Seattle this season, he's allowed just two runs over 11 innings (1.64 ERA), with 15 strikeouts to two walks.
The Mariners will send left-hander Ariel Miranda to the mound. Miranda has faced the Astros three times this season, posting a 5.00 ERA (10 earned runs in 18 innings). Something to watch will be if he can keep Astros hitters in the park, having given up 20 homers in 104 innings so far this season.