The Cubs made a trade late Monday night, acquiring veteran catcher Martin Maldonado from the Royals in exchange for left-handed pitcher Mike Montgomery.
On Tuesday night, Maldonado will make his first start behind with the plate for the Cubs and throwing to him will be another ex-Royal, as right-handed pitcher Alec Mills is slated to make his 2019 debut.
Mills will become the eighth starting pitcher for the Cubs this season. Unlike the past few years, the Cubs have been pretty fortunate overall with injuries to their starting rotation.
There was Jon Lester’s hamstring injury early in the year, Kyle Hendricks missed a few starts because of a shoulder issue and right now the Cubs are without Cole Hamels, as he rehabs from an oblique strain. Other than Hamels, not a ton of time missed from the starters.
Thanks to some schedule quirks, the Cubs have been able to go with a four-man rotation at times and they’ll have that option again after Mills makes the start Tuesday night.
Of course, we all want to see rookie right-hander Adbert Alzolay make a return to the big leagues. His first stint with the Cubs ended on a sour note, as he was beat up by the Pirates before the All-Star break. But he’s definitely in the team’s plans for the stretch run.
Mills made two starts in 2018 for the Cubs, the first coming at Wrigley Field against the Reds on Aug. 24. He got a no-decision in a 3-2 Cubs win, pitching well, as he only allowed one run on four hits in 5.2 innings. Mills struck out eight and walked just one.
The 27-year-old has made 14 starts at Triple-A this season, posting a 4.73 ERA in 80 innings. Mills has been much better as of late, allowing three earned runs or fewer in six of his last eight starts.