The Chicago Cubs already have turned one Baltimore bust into an elite pitcher, and they hope for another solid return from left-hander Brian Matusz. The No. 4 overall pick in the 2008 draft, Matusz is scheduled to make a spot start for the Cubs – his first in the majors since 2012 – in the rubber match of a three-game interleague series against the visiting Seattle Mariners on Sunday.
After posting a 1.93 ERA in two starts at Triple-A Iowa, Matusz hopes to follow in the footsteps of reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta – another reclamation project who blossomed with the Cubs after a disappointing tenure in Baltimore. The Mariners spoiled Arrieta’s start Saturday, handing him the loss when newly-acquired closer Aroldis Chapman was unable to nail down a four-out save. Matusz draws a tough assignment for his return to the majors as he faces Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, who makes his third start since a stint of nearly two months on the disabled list. Hernandez hopes to keep the Cubs’ offense quiet after they managed only three hits in Saturday’s 4-1 loss — a day after routing the Mariners 12-1.
TV: 8:08 p.m. ET, ESPN
LINE HISTORY: The line for this one is late waking up on Sunday morning. The totals are always delayed in games played at Wrigley Field, but even the moneyline was late being released today. The first line we’ve seen hit the board is showing the Cubs at -120 and the total at 8.0. Check out the complete line history here.
WEATHER REPORT: Partly cloudy skies are expected this evening on the North Side of Chicago with temperatures in the low 80’s. Although temperatures will be seasonal, the humidity will be uncomfortable at 70-80 percent. There is a slight chance of showers (10 percent) and a light 5 mph breeze blowing in from center field.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Mariners RH Felix Hernandez (5-4, 3.45 ERA) vs. Cubs LH Brian Matusz (0-0, 12.00)
Hernandez hasn’t been his normal dominant self in two starts since returning from the disabled list, allowing nine runs and 19 hits over 12 2/3 innings. The 30-year-old did earn the win last time out, though, despite giving up four runs and nine hits over six frames at Pittsburgh. Hernandez’s only start against the Cubs came in 2010, when he allowed two runs on five hits and struck out eight in nine innings but didn’t get a decision in a 13-inning Cubs win.
Matusz struggled out of the bullpen for Baltimore before being released, allowing at least one run in four of his seven outings. The 29-year-old’s last big-league outing came against the Mariners, who tagged him for four runs and five hits in 1 2/3 innings on May 17. Matusz has made 13 appearances (one start) against Seattle, posting a 3.20 ERA without a decision.
* Mariners are 1-6 in their last 7 road games vs. a left-handed starter.
* Mariners are 4-1 in Hernandez’ last 5 interleague starts.
* Cubs are 5-0 in their last 5 interleague home games vs. a right-handed starter.
* Under is 8-1 in Hernandez’ last 9 starts vs. National League Central.
* Under is 24-6-1 in Cubs’ last 31 home games.
* Home team is 7-0 in Iassogna’s last 7 games behind home plate vs. Chicago.
COVERS CONSENSUS: At the time of publication of this preview there was no consensus data for this one. The line was late being released but click on the link to get the most up-to-date data as the day goes on. Check out the up-to-date consensus data here.
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