Cubs rained out, Steele will start Game 1 on Tuesday

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Cubs pitcher Justin Steele throws during ghe sixth inning of the team's baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds in Cincinnati on Friday, April 30, 2021.

    Chicago Cubs pitcher Justin Steele throws during ghe sixth inning of the team's baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds in Cincinnati on Friday, April 30, 2021.

 
 
Updated 8/9/2021 9:42 PM

After a long wait, the Cubs postponed Monday night's game against Milwaukee due to rain and will play a split doubleheader Tuesday.

The team announced left-hander Justin Steele will make his major-league starting debut in Game 1 starting at 1:20 p.m., while Alec Mills, Monday's scheduled starter, will pitch in the 7:05 game.

 

With the Cubs out of the playoff race and starting their rebuild, there will be some anticipation for Steele's first start. He made his major-league debut earlier this season out of the bullpen.

After recovering from a hamstring injury, Steele stayed in Iowa to work on stretching into a starter's role. The Lucedale, Mississippi, native was a starter throughout his minor-league run. In 5 starts at Iowa, Steele posted an 0.87 ERA and struck out 27 in 20⅔ innings.

The Cubs' plan is to use a six-man rotation the rest of the season, although another change could be in store since Keegan Thompson also is being stretched out at Iowa to test himself in a starter's role. Thompson did get 1 start for the Cubs in May against the Dodgers.

Pitching coach Tommy Hottovy talked about the six-man rotation plan over the weekend.

"For the most part, every guy was understanding about what we're trying to accomplish," Hottovy said, according to marqueenetwork.com. "They understand the workload side of it. Every single guy is having a heavier workload than last year. And they all want to finish healthy. That's the goal."

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The Cubs have been cognizant of their pitchers going from a 60-game season in 2020 to a full season this year. Adbert Alzolay pitched just 21 innings last summer.

"The guys that are going to be free agents next year (Zach Davies, Jake Arrieta) especially want to finish the season strong," Hottovy said. "Going with a six-man is going to cost them 1 start. It's not like they're going to miss 3 or 4. They go from 10 to 9. It's really not that big of a deal. It allows them to have extra work in between and continue to build.

"They also understand that it's important for us as an organization to evaluate some of the young guys so we can make better decisions when we go into the off-season."

• Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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