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Cubs vs Astros: Lineups, Pitching Matchup, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

Chicago Cubs

Despite all their recent struggles, the 2023 Chicago Cubs have still not been more than (their current) two-games under .500. However, they’re at risk of dropping below that tonight with Framber Valdez on the mound for Houston. Here’s a look at the Chicago Cubs lineup for the first of three games against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

Chicago Cubs Lineup:

  1. Chris Morel, LF
  2. Dansby Swanson, SS
  3. Ian Happ, DH
  4. Seiya Suzuki, RF
  5. Cody Bellinger, CF
  6. Patrick Wisdom, 3B
  7. Trey Mancini, 1B
  8. Yan Gomes, C
  9. Nick Madrigal, 2B

Pretty straight forward Cubs lineup tonight, at least in terms of personnel. With the incredibly tough lefty, Framber Valdez, on the mound for Houston, Matt Mervis is going to take a seat in favor of Trey Mancini. That’s a good call for Mervis, who has seen way too many left-handed (or reverse split righty) pitchers in his first two weeks on the job. It’s kind of nuts. And with Nico Hoerner out of the lineup, Nick Madrigal is back in there at second base, but batting ninth instead of leading off.

Perhaps in an effort to relieve some of the pressure when he bats as righty, Ian Happ has been parked at DH tonight, with Chris Morel leading off and covering left field for him. That means Eric Hosmer is also on the bench. By my count that means there are four lefty bats on the bench tonight (Mervis, Hosmer, Tucker Barnhart, and Miles Mastrobuoni). Kind of weird. Go Cubs.

Houston Astros Lineup:

  1. Mauricio Dubon, 2B
  2. Alex Bregman, 3B
  3. Yordan Alvarez, LF
  4. Kyle Tucker, Rf
  5. Jose Abreu, 1B
  6. Jeremy Peña, SS
  7. Chas McCormick, CF
  8. Jake Meyers, CF
  9. Martin Maldonado, C

Pitching Matchup:

Chicago Cubs: Jameson Taillon, RHP

Jameson Taillon has already made two starts since returning from the injured list with a groin strain, and the results were not great in either (combined): 5.2 IP, 8H, 7ER, 2BB, 9K. That said, he was on a pitch count in both and has actually looked just fine. If he’s feeling good and is all the way stretched out, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him bounce back nicely this evening. The Astros lineup hasn’t been great against right-handed pitching (83 wRC+) and has been struggling a lot lately. On the flip side, there has been some individual success against Taillon in the past.

Notable Matchups:

  • Abreu: 3-11, 2 2Bs, 2K
  • Maldonado: 4-10, 2B, HR, BB, K
  • Altuve: 4-9, 2 2Bs, 2K
  • Brantley: 3-9, K

Houston Astros: Framber Valdez, LHP

We discussed Framber Valdez in the series preview earlier today, and it all holds true:
“Framber Valdez has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season, with seven quality starts out of eight games. In fact, the only time he DIDN’T go at least six innings with 3ER or fewer was his first start of the year … when he went 5.0 scoreless innings against the White Sox with no walks. The Cubs do seem to handle left-handed pitching a lot better than righties, though. So at least there’s that.”

Broadcast Info:

Chicago Cubs (19-21) vs Houston Astros (21-19) at 7:10 pm CT on MARQ, 670 The Score

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami