Joc Pederson leads off the series finale in left field, followed by Kris Bryant at first, Javy Báez at short, and Ian Happ in center. Willson Contreras is the catcher, Rafael Ortega is in right, Patrick Wisdom is at third, and Eric Sogard rounds things out at second.
Jake Arrieta has been less than consistent since returning from the IL, but his last start was one of his best of the year as he struck out seven Pirates with just one walk. It was also the first time in four starts that he didn’t give up a homer, something he’d do well to repeat this afternoon. Even though the Reds aren’t a very good team, they have some mashers who can turn the game around in a hurry.
Tyler Mahle is starting for the visitors coming off of an excellent effort that saw him shut the Nationals out over 5.1 innings. He only allowed three hits and walked just one of the 20 batters he faced, though he also notched only two strikeouts. Mahle’s only struck out more than five men in one of his last six starts and his May numbers represent a sharp decline from April.
He faced the Cubs back on May 2, striking out five with no walks. Seems good, right? Well, he also gave up three homers among the nine hits he surrendered in five innings of work. Two of those were hit by Bryant, who boasts a 1.429 OPS against Mahle. However, the Cubs have an aggregate .547 OPS against the righty, including .356 from Happ and .313 from Contreras.
This game could come down to whether or not Mahle’s cutter/slider is working, as that is his favorite secondary. He’s throwing it a lot more lately, close to 40%, and the results have been very bad for the most part. Beginning with that last game against the Cubs, the breaking ball has failed Mahle every time except against the Nats. His mid-90’s fastball and firm splitter are decent, so having all three pitches working makes him dangerous.
We’ll find out just how dangerous when the game gets started at 1:20pm CT on Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score. If you’re looking to cut the cord or make a switch to a cheaper provider without losing Marquee, check out a free preview of fuboTV.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 30, 2021