— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) March 31, 2018
Yu Darvish will be taking the bump for the Cubs in a game that actually matters, so that’s pretty cool. As long as he can keep his balance out there, his unmatched repertoire and variable timing should thoroughly vex Miami’s minor league lineup.
Opposing the Cubs will be 30-year-old righty Odrisamer Despaigne (OH-drees-ah-meer DES-pawn-yay), a man who’s posted decidedly mediocre results over the past four seasons. If that name sounds familiar for reasons other than it’s uniqueness, it’s probably because he threw 11 pitches last night to earn the win for the Marlins.
Despaigne relies heavily on a sinker/cutter/four-seam combo, mixing in a change and curve with low frequency. He’s not a big strikeout guy (5.26 K/9) and he’s going to walk a batter or three (3.0 BB/9), so maybe the Cubs can avoid going going down on strikes 20 times in this one. It’ll help if they can limit it to a regulation contest, of course.
On the offensive side for the Cubs, the most notable change is Javy Baez getting a day off after going 0-7 in last night’s 17 inning affair. Ben Zobrist gets the start at second base in his place. Zobrist, who went 3-7 last night, struck the ball quite well throughout the night, and certainly looks healthy compared to what we saw during parts of 2017. The Cubs offense will look for better results after scoring just one run in 17 innings last night, and not scoring again after Kris Bryant’s third inning home run.
First pitch is at 6:10pm CT and can be seen on NBC Sports Chicago or heard on 670 The Score.