A win at Wrigley Field this afternoon would give the Cubs their second consecutive series sweep, their first six-game winning streak since 2019, and a chance to match their season high of 2.0 games over .500. However, they’ll face the lefty, Tyler Anderson, who has handled them fairly well (though not overly dominant) through two starts this season: 10.1 IP, 15H, 6ER, 2BB, 12Ks. And they’ll do it without Javy Baez.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
1. Matt Duffy, 3B
2. Willson Contreras, C
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
4. Kris Bryant, LF
5. David Bote, 2B
6. Jason Heyward, RF
7. Jake Marisnick, CF
8. Ildemaro Vargas, SS
9. Kyle Hendricks, P
Baez was taken out of yesterday’s game with some back stiffness and is getting the day off today, too. With a regularly scheduled Cubs off-day tomorrow, that’s smart timing, because it nets him two full days while missing just one game (the Joe Maddon special). HOWEVER, it would be nice to have Baez’s bat in there against the lefty, Anderson, to say nothing of his missing glove with Nico Hoerner also on the IL. Ildemaro Vargas will cover shortstop in their absence.
Speaking of Anderson, he’s really turned things up since facing the Cubs in his first two starts of the year. He held the Royals to just 1 earned run over 6.0 innings at the end of April and kept the Padres to just 2 earned runs over 6.2 innings in San Diego his last time out.
The Cubs were able to do some damage off him, yes, and they are evidently a fundamentally different offense now than they were then, but his 12 strikeouts to 2 walks with a ton of whiffs isn’t lost on me.
In any case, with a lefty on the mound, Joc Pederson grabs some bench in favor of Kris Bryant in left field. And with Ian Happ also on the IL, the Cubs have room for Jake Marisnick in center, Matt Duffy at third, *and* David Bote at second base. For a team missing three starters today, the lineup could look worse.
As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ post closer to game time (1:20 CT).