Cubs Lineup — Well, well, well. If it isn’t another Sunday, apparent Kryptonite of the 2023 Chicago Cubs. By my count, the Cubs are 5-15 on Sunday games this season, which is just a .250 winning percentage. Well below their .516 winning percentage for the season. And even further below their .569 winning percentage on non-Sundays. Can Kyle Hendricks and the following lineup help create some positive regression?
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Mike Tauchman, CF
- Nico Hoerner, 2B
- Ian Happ, LF
- Cody Bellinger, 1B
- Dansby Swanson, SS
- Chris Morel, DH
- Jeimer Candelario, 3B
- Seiya Suzuki, RF
- Miguel Amaya, C
Jordan Lyles is starting for the Royals today, and as we’ll discuss below, he’s been struggling this season, especially lately. The Cubs lineup really has no excuses not to beat up on a guy like this, especially the lefties:
Jordan Lyles vs Lefties:
Full season: .261/.322/.510 (.352 wOBA)
Last 5 games: .259/.328/.534 (.365 wOBA)
As for the Cubs lineup, specifically, there are no real changes to discuss. Ian Happ is still batting third (but I remain agnostic about that against righties, where his .375 OBP still plays in front of Bellinger), Jeimer Candelario is still way too far down), and Seiya Suzuki is still drawing starts, but at the bottom of the order.
Miguel Amaya is in there today, fresh off a nominal promotion to primary back-up catcher with Tucker Barnhart’s DFA. Sunday or not, the Cubs really have to win this one.
Kansas City Royals Lineup:
- MJ Melendez, LF
- Bobby Witt Jr., SS
- Michael Massey, 2B
- Salvador Perez, C
- Nelson Velázquez, DH
- Kyle Isbel, CF
- Matt Duffy, 3B
- Matt Beaty, 1B
- Dairon Blanco, RF
Chicago Cubs: Kyle Hendricks, RHP
Kyle Hendricks has been doing the classic “veteran pitcher” thing lately – something we used to see Jon Lester do ALL THE TIME: Struggle early, identify what needs to be tweaked, make an in-game adjustment, and ultimately deliver a quality start. It’s one of those rare skills that requires both mental (identifying the problem) and physical (ability to make the change) talents.
Innings 1-4: 4.50 ERA, .303 wOBA
Innings 5-9: 2.86 ERA, .274 wOBA
So I suppose that is to say, don’t be worried if he comes out of the gate slowly today. That might just be his new M.O. And that’s all right. Don’t forget, however, the Royals (114 wRC+, 8th in MLB) have been one of the top offenses against right-handed pitching since the All-Star break.
Kansas City Royals: Jordan Lyles, RHP
Jordan Lyles has been a relative work horse this season, tossing 131.1 innings across 23 starts. Those starts just haven’t been very good: .260 AVG, 16.3 K%, 33.7 groundball rate, 10.3 barrel%. And so on. He really is not a good pitcher and this Cubs lineup should be able to handle him just fine. Indeed, Lyles has been especially bad lately, allowing 23 earned runs over his last 28.2 IP, with an even smaller strikeout rate (14.4%) and eight home runs.
Chicago Cubs (63-59) vs Kansas City Royals (40-85) at 1:20 pm CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
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