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Royals at Cubs Series Preview: Probables, How to Watch, and More

Keegan Thompson, who did not allow a run in four Triple-A starts, is expected to make his first MLB start since May on Saturday.

Chicago Cubs
Photo: ESPN.com

The Chicago Cubs start a six-game homestand Friday with a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs (54-69, fourth in NL Central) have won two straight after their season-long 12-game losing streak. Chicago set its season losing mark at 12 games with a 14-5 loss to the Cincinnati Reds then picked up wins of 2-1 and 7-1. It’s the first series victory for the Cubs since they took two of three against the Arizona Diamondbacks, who still hold the worst record in the MLB.

The Cubs will have another pitcher make his rotation audition this upcoming series when Keegan Thompson takes the mound. The right-hander has been stretching out at Triple-A Iowa, where he did not allow a run and struck out 16 in 14 2/3 innings across four starts. He allowed no runs on two hits, struck out two and walked two in 3 2/3 innings in his first career MLB start against the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 4.

The Royals (52-68, fifth in AL Central) are in a similar position to the Cubs, looking up at the standings. Kansas City, however, is coming off a surprising series win against the AL West-leading Houston Astros at home. The Royals won three straight against Houston, but failed to finish off the sweep. Aledmys Díaz singled in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning, and the Astros added two more runs on a bases-loaded walk and sacrifice fly.

The Cubs are a half-game up on the Royals and Washington Nationals in the league standings, with the eighth-worst record.

Injuries

Royals: Kyle Zimmer (neck/trap), Greg Holland (shoulder), Jesse Hahn (shoulder), Ronald Bolanos (flexor), Adalberto Mondesi (oblique)

Cubs: Brad Wieck (heart), Kohl Stewart (elbow), Dillon Maples (blister), Jonathan Holder (shoulder), Nick Madrigal (hamstring), Nico Hoerner (oblique), Jose Lobaton (shoulder), P.J. Higgins (forearm), Willson Contreras (knee)

Probable Pitchers

Friday: Brad Keller, RHP (7-12, 5.62 ERA, 1.69 WHIP) vs. Zach Davies, RHP (6-9, 5.00 ERA, 1.53 WHIP)

Saturday: Kris Bubic, LHP (3-6, 5.09 ERA, 1.53 WHIP) vs. Keegan Thompson, RHP (3-2, 2.21 ERA, 1.28 WHIP)

Sunday: Carlos Hernandez, RHP (0-0, 4.33 ERA, 1.35 WHIP) vs. Alec Mills, RHP (5-5, 4.19 ERA, 1.41 WHIP)

How to Watch

Friday: 1:20 PM, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (out-of-market only)

Saturday: 1:20 PM, Marquee Sports Network

Sunday: 1:20 PM, Marquee Sports Network

All times Central

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Brandon is a contributor for On Tap Sports Net covering the Chicago Blackhawks, Rockford IceHogs and Chicago Steel. He also covers the Blackhawks as an independent correspondent for NHL.com. Follow Brandon on Twitter @brandonmcain.

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