The Cubs are still tied for first despite not playing well this month, so it’d be great for them to pick it up during this quick series with Cleveland. Scoring a few runs sure would help.
Joc Pederson will try to get that started as he leads off in left, followed by Kris Bryant in center, Javier Báez at short, and Anthony Rizzo at first. Willson Contreras is behind the dish, Patrick Wisdom is at third, Jason Heyward is in right, and Eric Sogard is at second.
Adbert Alzolay is back from the IL after sitting out with a blister issue that cropped up during his last start and the Cubs are hoping the rest did him good. The righty has displayed nasty stuff at times this season and has established himself as a legit No. 2 when he’s on. He’ll need to be in order to get over on 10-game winner Aaron Civale.
While pitcher wins are often given too much weight, it’s hard to argue with a 10-2 record. If nothing else, it simply means Cleveland supports Civale with enough runs to get him a lot of victories. That’s a tall task for a Cubs team that can’t seem to score more than three lately.
Civale isn’t overpowering in the slightest and won’t miss many bats with his 92 mph heater, but he’s got a very balanced repertoire that features six pitches he’ll throw at least 10% of the time. He’s flip-flopped his sinker and four-seam, throwing the latter about a quarter of the time and the former at the aforementioned 10% clip, then he’s got a cutter that makes up another 24% of his pitches.
The curve (15%), split (13%), and slider (12.5%) all get significant usage as well. Interestingly enough, the cutter is really the only one of the bunch that has been truly effective. Thing is, Civale has found success by mixing and matching to keep opponents at bay for the most part. He’s clearly human, though, and he’s prone to giving up homers.
The Cubs should be able to score in this one, but that’s been the case quite a few times in June and it hasn’t always panned out.
First pitch is at 7:05pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 21, 2021