(Updated: UPDATES the fourth sentence with the Cubs standing)
Since making the move to the North Side and the National League, Jose Quintana has enjoyed pitching against unfamiliar foes. He might find just as much enjoyment from getting reacquainted with the Toronto Blue Jays when they take on Quintana and the host Chicago Cubs on Saturday.
Quintana fared well against the Blue Jays during his years with the Chicago White Sox, and he’ll try to continue that by pitching the Cubs to a second straight win in the three-game series. The Cubs smacked 13 hits in support of Jake Arrieta to claim a 7-4 win in the series opener and sit 1 1/2 games ahead of second-place St. Louis in the National League Central. The Cubs have won eight of their last nine interleague games to improve to 9-7 against American League opponents this season. Toronto had won eight of its last nine against NL foes entering the series but has dropped three of its last four on the road.
TV: 2:20 p.m. ET, MLB Network, TVA Sports, Sportsnet (Toronto), ABC 7 (Chicago)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Blue Jays RH Nick Tepesch (1-2, 5.25 ERA) vs. Cubs LH Jose Quintana (7-10, 4.33)
Tepesch has made two starts since being acquired from Minnesota with vastly different results. The 28-year-old was roughed up by the New York Yankees in his Toronto debut, but he bounced back to limit Tampa Bay to one run and four hits over six innings Monday for his first big-league win since 2014. Tepesch faced the Cubs once in 2013 and allowed six runs (five earned) over four innings in a loss.
Quintana is 3-2 with a 3.86 ERA in six starts since moving across town from the White Sox. The 28-year-old has posted quality starts in four of his six outings and he beat Cincinnati last time out, allowing two runs (one earned) and four hits over five innings. Quintana is 6-2 with a 1.77 ERA in nine starts against the Blue Jays with wins in the last two meetings.
1. Cubs closer RHP Wade Davis has converted all 25 save opportunities this season, one shy of tying Ryan Dempster’s franchise record of 26 straight spanning the 2005 and 2006 seasons.
2. Toronto 3B Josh Donaldson went 0-for-4 Friday to snap a six-game hitting streak but is still batting .458 with five home runs over his past seven contests, and he is 6-for-13 with a homer versus Quintana.
3. With INF Javier Baez’s 20th home run Friday, the Cubs have five players with at least 20 blasts, which ties the club record.
PREDICTION: Cubs 6, Blue Jays 3