If cleanliness is truly next to godliness, the only fitting birthday present for Pat Hughes, a deity among broadcasters, would be a sweep of the Pirates to push the Cubs into a first-place tie. Willson Contreras is back leading off behind the plate, Kris Bryant stays at first as Anthony Rizzo rests a stiff back, and Javy Báez is at short. Ian Happ is in center, David Bote is at third, Rafael Ortega is in left, Patrick Wisdom is in right, and Eric Sogard is at second.
Someone who had just woken up after a six-week slumber might believe the white flag (sans W) had already been waved, but it’s just a matter of injuries forcing David Ross to be happy with meatloaf. The matchup dictates some of the decisions as well.
Kyle Hendricks has been much better of late, allowing just one earned run in three of his last four starts. He hasn’t walked more than one batter since April 18, over which time he has 30 strikeouts and four walks in six starts. The roughest of those recent starts came against the Pirates on May 9, a game in which Hendricks surrendered six runs (four earned) on nine hits and a walk.
This feels like a good game for him to get a nice measure of revenge.
Going for the Buccos is Tyler Anderson, who is facing the Cubs for the fourth time and who got the win in that aforementioned game against Hendricks. That was Anderson’s best start of the season and he’s given up five homers since, so we’ll see which version of the lefty shows up this time.
Anderson threw his cutter a lot in those early efforts, much more than his change, though he backed off of it over it for a while and increased his changeup significantly. Things shifted back starting with that last Cubs game, so it could be a matter of scouting and strategy. With the cutter failing him of late, the Cubs might see that change quite a bit more this afternoon.
Even though his splits are getting a little closer, Anderson is still much tougher on lefties and will present a tough matchup for everyone if his secondaries are working. That said, even a depleted Cubs lineup should be able to get something going.
First pitch from PNC Park is set for 11:35pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 27, 2021