Chicago Cubs Lineup: Murphy Leads Off, Happ and Almora in OF, Quintana Pitching

Daniel Murphy is at second, Javy Baez is at short, Anthony Rizzo bats third, and Ben Zobrist cleans up in right. Albert Almora Jr. is batting fifth in center, Willson Contreras is catching, Ian Happ is in left, and David Bote bats last at third base.

Jose Quintana, man, you just never know what you’re going to get. He’s been far more serviceable than people want to give him credit for, but he’s too talented a pitcher for us to be quibbling over varying degrees of mediocrity. He’s at least gotten to the point of walking fewer batters than earlier in the season, but he’s still giving up more hits than you’d like.

Q has given up six hits in five of his last seven starts and four hits in each of the other two, which gives him a 1.45 WHIP when combined with 15 walks in that 37.1 inning stretch. The Phillies don’t hit lefties particularly well, though they do draw more walks from southpaws than any team other than the Dodgers. Maybe cross your fingers in this one.

The Cubs will be facing hard-throwing 25-year-old Nick Pivetta, who is basically a mashup of the some of the most recent pitchers they’ve gone up against over the last few games. He’s got an arsenal somewhat reminiscent of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, and Mike Foltynewicz, but with results more like Jason Vargas. And we know how things went with those guys.

Pivetta throws hard and misses bats, but he gives up a lot of hard contact when he doesn’t get swinging strikes. The righty has a 95 mph fastball that serves mainly to set up his breaking stuff, specifically a slider and curveball. He’s got a change and two-seam as well, but neither gets a great deal of usage.

Hitters can pretty much look fastball early since he throws it about 70 percent of the time with his first pitch or when he gets behind. The breaking balls make up about 50 percent of his offerings once he gets ahead or has two strikes, so the approach needs to shift accordingly.

Pivetta has given up 20 home runs in 26 starts and he’s prone to giving up runs in bunches. He can, however, settle into a groove and start mowing hitters down if his stuff is really working on a given day. That tends to happen more often when he’s pitching at home, where his ERA is more attractive and his wOBA allowed is 51 points lower.┬áHis platoon splits at home are nearly equal as well, though lefties hit him much better overall.

As always, this all comes down to the Cubs doing what they can do and stringing hits together. First pitch is at 6:05pm CT and can be consumed via NBC Sports Chicago and 670 The Score.

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