8/15 Straily to make spot start

Dan Straily feels like himself, and that’s a good thing for the Cubs. The right-hander, acquired from the Athletics on July 4, will make a spot start for the Cubs on Saturday in the second game of their series against the Mets. In his last outing for Triple-A Iowa, Straily gave up two hits over six innings and picked up the win. He has not given up an earned run in his last three starts.

“I got out of the little funk I was in, some mechanical flaws if you will that had taken over my game,” he said Friday. “You have one good game, and it’s like, ‘OK, I had a good game.’ Two in a row, OK. Three in a row, OK, hopefully, we got it.

“I definitely feel more like the pitcher I know I am, not the guy I had been this year,” he said. “It’s a real good feeling to go out there and throw the baseball and feel like I was in command.”

What’s been a surprise for Straily is that his velocity has increased since Spring Training. At the beginning of the year, his fastball was clocked in the mid 80s. Now, it’s 87-92 mph.

“It’s nice to know I have it back there again,” he said of his velocity.

He was 10-8 with a 3.96 ERA in 27 starts with the Athletics last season, but was 1-2 with a 4.93 ERA this season. He also has made 10 starts at Triple-A Sacramento.

Iowa pitching coach Bruce Walton, Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio and others have studied Straily’s mechanics, and combined to make some minor changes. The right-hander feels good about where he’s at.

“Maybe this whole change of scenery thing is what it’s made out to be,” he said. “Maybe that’s all it is.”

– Carrie Muskat

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