The Cubs have lost four in a row and five out of six, the last of which was a gut-wrenching surrender brought on by some bad luck and a worse decision. With players holding closed-door meetings and Theo Epstein talking about making changes if things don’t improve, these next three games carry serious weight.
Kyle Schwarber is leading off in left, Javy Báez bats second, and Kris Bryant slides into the third spot while playing right. Dropping KB down in the order gives the slugger a better chance to drive in runs than he’s gotten to this point in the season. That means Anthony Rizzo is hitting cleanup with Willson Contreras in the five-hole.
Switch-hitting slugger Robel Garcia got the call from Iowa yesterday and makes his first appearance in an MLB starting lineup at second base. The swing-and-miss factor is big, but so is his power from both sides. David Bote is at third and Albert Almora Jr. rounds things out in center.
You’ve probably got better things to do with your time than read through my analysis of Jordan Lyles, so I’ll keep it brief like a pelican. Sorry, bad John Grisham joke. The Pirates’ 28-year-old righty was very solid early this season, limiting homers and keeping his team in games. Over his last five starts, however, Lyles has imploded.
He’s allowed 19 runs, all earned, over 24.2 innings and has not struck out more than six in any of those. The last three of those outings have come against Milwaukee, and the last two were behind the Cheddar Curtain, so maybe that’s got something to do with it. Either way, this is a pitcher who’s on the ropes in a big way.
Mainly a fastball/curveball guy, Lyles can sink the heater while mixing in a slider and change for good measure. As you might imagine, the fastball has faltered of late and the secondaries have followed suit as a result, leaving Lyles without much of an out pitch. The Cubs absolutely need to capitalize on this before getting out of town.
José Quintana is on the bump with a chance to put up consecutive excellent starts after his lights-out performance in the Cubs’ only win in Cincinnati this past weekend. When he’s attacking early in counts and throwing his fastball for strikes, everything tends to fall into place. It’s when he gets behind and can’t properly mix in the curve and change that things go south.
First pitch from PNC is at 3:05pm CT on WGN and ESPN (out-of-market), with 670 The Score on the radio call
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 4, 2019