Cubs Road Ahead: Hitting the road vs. division rivals


Cubs Road Ahead: Hitting the road vs. division rivals

CSN's David Kaplan and Todd Hollandsworth are getting you ready for what's next with this week's Cubs Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland and NW Indiana Honda Dealers.

After a six-game homestand, the Cubs are hitting the road for the next seven games against two division rivals, beginning with the Pittsburgh Pirates Monday on CSN.

The Cubs will likely have their hands full in a four-game series against a red hot Pirates team. Pittsburgh is coming off a three-game sweep against the Milwaukee Brewers, and prior to that, a battle against the Detroit Tigers in which all three games were decided by two runs or less.

In order to keep up with the Pirates, Todd Hollandsworth thinks the Cubs have to be on their A game.

"Clint Hurdle has taken over that Pirates team. He's got them playing great baseball and at the same time they've played in a lot of close ball games," said Hollandsworth. "It's going to be a great test for the Cubs as they go out on the road."

[NBC SPORTS SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

The Cubs will then pack up and head over to Cincinnati for a three-game stretch against the Reds Friday on CSN. Earlier this week, Chicago took two of three games against the Reds at Wrigley Field. 

The Reds have struggled to get in the win column, having only one win in their last seven games, but their offense is starting to pick up. In Cincinnati's previous three games — against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Reds have combined for 27 hits.

"The offensive is rolling right now," said Hollandsworth. "This is a lineup you're going to have to navigate very, very carefully and you're going to see some tested games up there as well."

See what else Kaplan and Hollandsworth had to say in the video above.

Cubs Talk Podcast: A Whole Roster of Issues


Cubs Talk Podcast: A Whole Roster of Issues

Tony Andracki, David Kaplan, and Kelly Crull dive into everything going on with the Cubs at the moment, including Addison Russell's struggles and the team's other personnel issues (1:10), whether some trade targets are realistic for the Cubs to acquire (7:30), the ultimate role for Robel Garcia (11:15), how the Cubs will structure the bullpen with Pedro Strop's struggles (14:30), and what the roster could look like after the trade deadline (18:30).

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below:

Cole Hamels makes rehab start for Triple-A Iowa Cubs

Cole Hamels makes rehab start for Triple-A Iowa Cubs

Cole Hamels took a step towards his return to the Cubs on Tuesday, but showed he is still working his way back to full strength.

Hamels made his first rehab start with Triple-A Iowa. It was his first game action since leaving with an oblique injury during a start on June 28.

For the Iowa Cubs, Hamels went 2 1/3 innings without giving up a run, but he struggled to throw strikes. Hamels threw 17 of his 35 pitches for strikes. He had two strikeouts, three walks and allowed one hit.

If Hamels is only throwing 35 pitches and not having much command, he isn’t that close to a return. It has been about three and a half weeks since his injury.

Alec Mills made two starts for the Cubs after the all-star break, including one on Monday, with Hamels out. Mills was sent down before Tuesday’s game in San Francisco. Lefty reliever Tim Collins took his spot on the roster.

The Cubs have off days on Thursday and Monday so they could skip a spot in the rotation, buying more time until Hamels is ready to rejoin the rotation.


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