Cubs vs Twins: Lineups, Pitching Matchup, Broadcast Info, Game Thread (UPDATE: 2:30 CT)
This game is delayed, but first pitch is now scheduled for 2:30pm CT.
Largely on the strength of Matt Mervis (1-4, 2B, RBI, R) and lead-off man Chris Morel (2-5, HR, 2RBI, 2R), the Chicago Cubs took game one against the Minnesota Twins last night at Target Field. They’re both back in the Cubs lineup this afternoon, though Morel is not leading off this time around.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Nick Madrigal, 3B
- Dansby Swanson, SS
- Ian Happ, LF
- Cody Bellinger, CF
- Seiya Suzuki, RF
- Chris Morel, 2B
- Matt Mervis, 1B
- Eric Hosmer, DH
- Tucker Barnhart, C
Because Eric Hosmer is starting again (…I’m so beyond over it), the bottom of the Cubs lineup features three lefties in a row from Mervis to Barnhart. Kind of a weird choice with so many righties in the lineup and on the bench, especially against a pitcher who’s been basically split neutral for his career. Maybe Ross is trying bait a lefty-reliever pitcher change, so he can pinch hit with one of his
actually productive hitters right-handed hitters later in the game?
Frankly, I don’t know. And I don’t really see why one or both of Trey Mancini and Patrick Wisdom are sitting so often. I think Nick Madrigal has earned some playing time with his defense at third, but his bat is still lagging way behind. And Hosmer … It’s just exhausting at this point.
I’m also not sure I necessarily understand leading off with Madrigal instead of Morel, who’s done nothing but destroy the ball since being called up. But Ross must prioritize contact at the top of the lineup. Shrug.
As expected (day game following a night game), it’s Tucker Barnhart behind the plate for Hayden Wesneski this afternoon. For what it’s worth, Wesneski has made three starts each with Gomes (6.23 ERA) and Barnhart (2.93 ERA) this season, netting better results with the latter.
Minnesota Twins Lineup:
- Joey Gallo, 1B
- Alex Kirlloff, DH
- Carlos Correa, SS
- Jorge Polanco, 2B
- Trevor Larnach, RF
- Nick Gordon, CF
- Kyle Farmer, 3B
- Willi Castro, LF
- Ryan Jeffers, C
Chicago Cubs: Hayden Wesneski, RHP
Although Hayden Wesneski has been getting excellent *results* for a while (2.22 ERA over his last five starts and 28.1 IP), the peripherals – and the way he LOOKS on the mound – are finally catching up. Going all the way back to April 17, Wesneski has walked just 2 batters while striking out 19. During that same stretch, the hard-hit rate is down to 33.7%. There have still been too many line drives and fly balls and too much hard contact, but he looks like he’s in so much more of a rhythm.
Minnesota Twins: Joe Ryan, RHP
The Cubs lineup got through a tough righty, Sonny Gray, yesterday. But they’ve got another tough matchup, Joe Ryan, this afternoon. On the surface, the 26-year-old right-hander has a pretty simple pitch mix (four-seamer 60% of the time, splitter 27% of the time, slider the rest of the way). But it’s been working for him. And that slider, you’ll be unsurprised to learn, is actually broken down into two distinct pitches (according to Statcast): a traditional slider and a sweeper with twice as much horizontal break and much more drop. Ryan is pretty split neutral for his career.
Chicago Cubs (19-19) vs Minnesota Twins (21-18) at 1:10 pm CT on MARQ, 670 The Score