— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 8, 2018
Jose Quintana was not great in his first effort in Miami this season, walking four men en route to six earned runs. That was kind of a common theme for Cubs starters that first time through, but they do appear to have picked up the pace during this second rotation. The staff as a whole has show both a willingness and ability to get hitters out in the zone, so let’s see if Q can follow suit.
The Brewers will send 30-year-old Chase Anderson, their de facto ace, to the mound for his second effort of the season as well. Anderson was a revelation last season, posting a 2.74 ERA (3.58 FIP) over 141.1 innings for Milwaukee. He’s never gone much over 150 innings in four seasons, though, so durability in both games and over the course of the season is a concern.
Anderson won’t blow anyone away with velocity, working in the low 90’s with his fastball, but his repertoire includes a sinker, cutter, curve, and change that can keep hitters guessing. The latter two were particularly dangerous last year and can both serve as out pitches.
Though he doesn’t give up an inordinate amount of homers, Anderson is by no means a groundball pitcher. He’ll also give up his fair share of hard contact and he works in the zone, which means the Cubs need to be aggressive early in counts again. Hey, maybe they can finally stop messing around with warning-track shots and put a few more over the wall.
Albert Almora Jr. gets the leadoff nod this afternoon against the righty Anderson, whose 2017 splits actually slightly favored right handers (.291 wOBA vs RHB/.268 wOBA vs LHB). He’ll be followed by Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist, both of whom hit two home runs off of Anderson during the 2017 campaign. Javy Baez gets the day off this afternoon with Zobrist playing second, and Victor Caratini is once again at first base in Rizzo’s absence.
First pitch is at 1:10pm CT and can be seen on WGN or heard on 670 The Score. I’ll be watching on a local affiliate and will be flipping back and forth with the Masters, since I’ve got Patrick Reed in my work pool. My greatest hope for the afternoon is not so much that he wins, but that we get some of his conversation with his caddie on a live mic.
“Looks like it’s gonna break left.”
“Oh, I agree, Pat.”