Chicago Cubs Lineup (4/11/19): Zobrist Leads Off, Quintana Pitching, Start Time Moved Up
Ben Zobrist is leading off in right, followed by Kris Bryant at third, Anthony Rizzo at first, and Javy Báez at short. Kyle Schwarber is in left coming off of a golden sombrero that saw him waving at every breaking ball he saw, so here’s to hoping he gets aggressive against early fastballs.
Power-hitting Jason Heyward is in center, a much more frequent sight with Albert Almora Jr.’s suppressed offensive production. Daniel Descalso is at second and Victor Caratini is catching.
On the mound for Pittsburgh will be righty Joe Musgrove, a guy whose name predetermined his eventual 6-foot-5, 260-pound frame. Just hearing it makes you think of a burly dude, doesn’t it? He’s like the opposite of recently recalled Cubs pitcher Tim Collins, who is roughly the same size as the cocktail glass that bears his name.
Musgrove’s size belies his pitching style, which you’d expect to be power-based. Instead, he features a low-90’s fastball that he sets off with a low-80’s slider and change that comes in slightly more firm. That fastball is way down this year and isn’t even sitting 91 mph after being around 93 previously, which is odd for a 26-year-old. Makes you wonder if he’s got a few more ticks in him as the weather warms.
In three previous starts against the Cubs (20 IP), the righty has posted a 1.80 ERA and has struck out 17 against seven walks. That’s actually a really high number of free passes for a guy who has averaged only 2.07 BB/9 for his career, so the Cubs might not want to expect to work deep counts in this one.
Rather than depend on strikeouts, Musgrove likes to generate weak contact on the ground. He has registered nine K’s in as many innings so far this year, though, so let’s just hope there isn’t some sort of Jordan Lyles redux in the works.
No Cubs batters have face Musgrove more than nine times, which could result in a little getting-to-know-you action in the early going. Bryant has a homer and two walks, though, so maybe this is the matchup that finally gets him going.
José Quintana will be going for the Cubs in hopes of erasing the memory of his abysmal start back in Milwaukee. You kind of felt something like that might have been in order given his previous dominance of the Brewers, but man, that was ugly. He allowed eight runs and gave up just as many homers (3) as he had strikeouts and walks. Oh, and he did it in that same number of innings.
After a short stint the last time out and following a string of too many other brief starts, the Cubs really need Q to be more efficient and eat some innings in this one. If he can do that, they might get to celebrate a series victory with meatloaf.
First pitch was initially scheduled for 7:05pm CT but has been moved up to 6:35pm in anticipation of inclement weather. It can be seen on NBC Sports Chicago or MLB Network, with 670 The Score on the radio call.
Here is tonight's #Cubs starting lineup. #EverybodyIn
Stream on @NBCSChicago: https://t.co/rGCuW1XI7C pic.twitter.com/hJ2Jq3c2HS
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 11, 2019