Willson Contreras leads off for the Cubs tonight in San Diego, he’s followed by Kris Bryant in right, Anthony Rizzo at first, hot-hitting Patrick Wisdom — who was just named NL Player of the Week — playing third, and Jake Marisnick playing center in his first start since hitting the IL.
Ian Happ is batting sixth and playing left, he’s followed by Sergio Alcántara playing short for Javier Báez, who apparently injured his thumb in yesterday’s game but could be available tonight if needed. Eric Sogard is batting eighth and playing second.
Adbert Alzolay (4-4, 3.62 ERA) is pitching tonight for the Cubs. He’ll be looking to get his record over .500 for the first time this season. His last outing was against the Padres on June 2, when he got the win while giving up only one earned run and three hits over five innings.
Going for the Padres is burly 21-year-old lefty Ryan Weathers, who is making his second consecutive start against the Cubs. His last was his worst start of the season as he gave up four runs on two homers with just two strikeouts. That alone bumped his ERA from 1.31 to 2.06, which I think we can agree is pretty solid.
A big part of that success comes from avoiding the third-time-through-the-order penalty. Weathers has only faced six batters for a third time this season, three of which were Cubs. Interestingly enough, Contreras hit a dinger as the leadoff batter when the order turned over that third time.
Weathers has a very limited repertoire for a starter, throwing his 94 mph fastball about 62% of the time while going to the slider at around 30% frequency. The change, a firm offering at around 87 mph, makes up the other 8% and grades out as his worst pitch. The slide-piece, however, is one of the best of its kind in the game and has generated tremendous value for Weathers and the Padres in the early going.
Contrary to what you may be thinking, though, it’s not a big strikeout pitch. Like, at all. Among the 163 pitchers who’ve logged at least 30 innings in 2021, Weathers is tied for 142nd with a measly 8.3% swinging-strike rate. That means he lives by getting bad contact on his pitches, which we see played out in a .210 BABIP against that feels ripe for correction.
The Cubs actually boosted that number 19 points after their seven-hit effort last week, so let’s hope they do more of the same tonight.
First pitch from San Diego is at 9:10pm CT on ESPN, Marquee Sports Network, and 670 The Score. Cord-cutters can check out a free preview of fuboTV if you want to see whether the streaming service with Marquee is worthwhile.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 7, 2021