Jake Arrieta is still recovering from a grade one hamstring strain he suffered back last week, and his spot has been filled in now by multiple positions. Mike Montgomery took his first usual rotation spot on Saturday against Milwaukee, and unfortunately for him it did not go well. Montgomery has been in and out of the pen and rotation this year as he has shown overall efficiency of pitching in both spots. Now he moves back to the bullpen as the Cubs are set to start 22 year old Jen-Ho Tseng on Thursday night against the Mets.

Tseng has started 24 games in 2017 between the AA Tennessee Smokies and the AAA Iowa Cubs, with tonight as his Major League debut.

This will be a significant start for Tseng, knowing that he comes in and is playing with a Cubs team that is battling the Brewers and Cardinals in a tight race for the NL Central title with two and a half weeks left.

Tseng's MiLB accomplishments

The young right handed pitcher has had himself an overall successful minor league career so far in the Cubs system. This year, between AA and AAA, he sports a 2.54 ERA, 1.135 WHIP, 122 strikeouts, 38 walks and 0.7 HR/9 in 145.1 innings pitched. It is something to note that in his nine AAA starts his ERA is sub-two at 1.80 in 55.0 innings. He has pitched in the Cubs system since 2014 and has a career 3.17 ERA and 1.183 WHIP.

Looking at in-depth scouting, Tseng is a groundball pitcher, considering that 53.1% of his batted balls are grounders with 49.4% of those batted balls being pulled.

His strikeout rate is approximately 17.7% which means he is striking guys out less than the typical average starter. He has very solid command, only walking 6.3% of batters and typically attacks the batter early. He uses a fastball, changeup, knuckle-curve and slider to mix up speeds and eye-level on the batter to get the soft contact he desires without relying on completely missing bats.

He can be seen as a Kyle Hendricks-like pitcher with his ability to command the strike zone and get weak batted balls as a result.

The NL Central race

As of the morning of Thursday, September 14th, the Cubs are in first place over the Brewers and Cardinals. The Cubs have a 2.5 game lead over the Brewers and the Cardinals are back with the magic number to clinch the NL Central at 15.

The Cardinals and Cubs will play each other this weekend at Wrigley Field in what is likely going to be the biggest series of the year for both teams. The other teams in the Central, which include the Pirates and Reds, are not contending and just playing spoiler at this point.