Hayden Wesneski was stellar in his major league debut earlier this month for the Chicago Cubs. Now, he hopes for a successful first career start.
Looking to make the most of his third big-league appearance, Wesneski also will try to help the Cubs earn a fifth consecutive victory when they face the visiting Colorado Rockies on Saturday.
A surprise callup for the Cubs after being acquired from the New York Yankees in early August, Wesneski (1-1, 3.12 ERA) allowed two hits and a walk while striking out eight over five scoreless innings of relief in a 9-3 home victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Sept. 6.
The 24-year-old right-hander became the first pitcher since 1901 to throw at least five scoreless innings as a reliever while giving up two or fewer hits and fanning a minimum of eight batters in his major league debut.
“He’s done a really nice job,” Chicago manager David Ross said. “It’s big-league opportunity to come up here and just show what you can do.”
Though Wesneski allowed three runs on two homers over 3 2/3 innings against the San Francisco Giants on Sunday, there should still be excitement surrounding his initial major league start. Wesneski made 23 starts and one relief appearance in Triple-A between the Yankees’ and Cubs’ affiliates this season, going 6-9 with a 3.92 ERA.
Wesneski also has a chance to help the Cubs (62-82) stay hot after their 2-1 victory over the Rockies (62-82) on Friday. Chicago’s four-game undefeated run follows a stretch of 15 losses in 21 contests.
The Cubs’ Zach McKinstry homered and tripled on Friday, and he is 8-for-18 (.444) with two homers, two triples, a double and three RBIs in his past five games. Teammate Ian Happ also had two hits with an RBI on Friday.
Happ is batting .304 at home this season and is 5-for-11 (.455) with two home runs and a double against Colorado’s scheduled Saturday starter, Jose Urena (3-6, 5.81 ERA).
Urena is 3-6 with a 6.08 ERA in 13 starts after being called from minors by the Rockies in early July. However, he allowed just one run on five hits and two walks over 5 1/3 innings against the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks on Sept. 10.
“I just try to get out there, execute the way I want and try to keep helping,” Urena said.
Pitching for Milwaukee to open this season, Urena threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings at Chicago on April 9. He is 2-2 with a 4.58 ERA in eight career appearances (seven starts) against the Cubs.
Colorado has lost three of four since winning four in a row. The Rockies are 22-48 on the road, the worst mark in the majors. They last won a series away from Denver when they took three of four at Arizona from July 7-10.
On the plus side, Colorado’s Yonathan Daza has recorded seven two-hit games over his past eight contests. He is 16-for-35 (.457) with six RBIs spanning his past 10 contests, and he is 7-for-16 (.438) in six career games vs. Chicago.
The Cubs won’t see former star Kris Bryant (plantar fasciitis) during the current three-game set. It’s also uncertain if they will have Nico Hoerner (triceps tightness) available for either of the final two games of the series.
–Field Level Media