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

Chicago Cubs

Dang it. I was really hoping to get Cody Bellinger back in the Cubs lineup today, the first day he was eligible to come off the injured list. That said, the last we heard, the Cubs were shooting for May 30. So I guess I was overly optimistic. At least we’ve got the Reds in town and Justin Steele on the bump this afternoon. Nothing like Friday 1:20 baseball at Wrigley Field. Go Cubs.

Chicago Cubs Lineup:

  1. Nico Hoerner, 2B
  2. Dansby Swanson, SS
  3. Michael Tauchman, CF
  4. Ian Happ, LF
  5. Trey Mancini, DH
  6. Chris Morel, RF
  7. Matt Mervis, 1B
  8. Miles Mastrobuoni, 3B
  9. Tucker Barnhart, C

Every single time Tucker Barnhart is starting in the Cubs lineup, David Ross empties the bench. It really seems like an unnecessary risk and I swear it’s been at least the last five Barnhart starts in a row (Steele does work well with Barnhart though, see stats below). Today, with Bellinger still out, Seiya Suzuki also grabs some bench. And with a hard-throwing righty on the mound, Patrick Wisdom is (rightly) sitting.

That leaves Tauchman in center field, Mancini as the DH, and Mastrobuoni as the third baseman. I don’t actually have anything against any of those guys, who’ve all been solid bench contributors at times this season. But when they’re ALL in there at the same as Barnhart, that’s a lot of pressure on the mainstays Hoerner, Swanson, and Happ (to say nothing of Morel and Mervis, who don’t yet deserve the pressure of carrying a team when the other starters aren’t in there).

The other crazy thing is that it almost feels like Ross went out of his way to get more lefties in there today against Hunter Greene, despite the fact that both this season and for his career, he’s been much worse against righties:

vRHH: .264/.332/.498 (.358 wOBA)
vLHH: .211/.302/.380 (.303 wOBA)

We know matchup/lineup choices are not about only lefty/righty splits — for example, I get not starting Patrick Wisdom today – but still.

Cincinnati Reds Lineup:

  1. Jonathan India, 2B
  2. Matt McLain, SS
  3. Spencer Steer, 1B
  4. Tyler Stephenson, DH
  5. Nick Senzel. LF
  6. Stuart Fairchild, RF
  7. Kevin Newman, 3B
  8. Jose Barrero, CF
  9. Curt Casali, C

Pitching Matchup:

Chicago Cubs: Justin Steele, LHP

Tucker Barnhart has caught four of Justin Steele’s 10 starts this season, and the two have paired just fine together: 2.25 ERA over 24.0 IP (6.0 IP/start). In fact, the Steele-Barnhart combo looks like it leads to a lot more strikeouts and a lot fewer walks than the Steele-Gomes battery. So maybe there is something to this. Steele’s last start against the Phillies (6.0 IP, 4H, 0ER, 1BB, 6K) was a fantastic and necessary bounce-back start after getting blown up (while sick) against the Astros. Let’s see if he can get this Cubs train rolling again after the series finale loss against the Mets last night.

Notable Matchups:

  • India: 2-9, HR, 2K
  • Senzel: 3-5, BB, K
  • Newman: 2-4, 2B, BB

Cincinnati Reds: Hunter Greene, RHP

Hunter Greene is such an interesting pitcher. He’s got OBVIOUS talent, having struck out 10 batters in three different starts this season (7+ in six starts), but a 33.68% groundball rate and a 90.5 MPH average exit velocity just isn’t usually going to cut it. Hence the 4.68 ERA. When they’re not striking out, opposing batters have been squaring Greene up all season with 14 barrels in 10 starts (10.6%) and a 43.9% hard-hit rate. Greene has been especially prone to the long ball lately, giving up two homers in three of his last four starts with seven total over that stretch. He’s also carrying reverse splits (why is Seiya Suzuki not starting again?) and throws extremely hard. He’s a very very different pitcher than Justin Steele in just about every single way.

Notable Matchups:

  • Hoerner: 2-6, 2B, HR, K
  • Morel: 2-6, 2B
  • Happ: 2-5, 2B, HR, 2BB, 3K

Broadcast Info:

Chicago Cubs (22-27) vs Cincinnati Reds (21-29) at 1:20 pm CT on MARQ, MLBN, 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