The Cubs will try to end a seven-game skid with Joc Pederson leading off in left, followed by Kris Bryant at third and Javier Báez at short. Anthony Rizzo is at first, Willson Contreras is behind the plate, and Jason Heyward is in right. From there, it’s Ian Happ at second and Rafael Ortega in center.
Adbert Alzolay didn’t look great in his first start back from a blister issue, so the Cubs are hoping he’s quite a bit sharper in this one. He lacked control of his slider last time out, which is less than ideal when it’s a pitch that accounts for nearly half of his repertoire. Even a meh lineup like the Reds can catch fire if a starter lacks control.
Going for Cincinnati is righty Tyler Mahle, who has had two very different outings against the Cubs so far. Back on May 2, he struck out five with no walks but also gave up three homers among the nine hits he surrendered in five innings of work. Two of those homers were hit by Bryant, who boasts a 1.242OPS against Mahle. Then on May 30, Mahle struck out eight with one walk and and just one hit over five scoreless innings.
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 this season, just over 36%, and the results have been very bad for the most part. It was good against the Cubs in that last start, though, and it can be a real weapon. Mahle’s mid-90’s fastball and firm splitter are decent, so having all three pitches working makes him dangerous.
It helps when you know you’ll win if your offense just scores two runs behind you, so Mahle should be pitching with a lot of confidence this afternoon.
First pitch from GABC is set for 3:10pm CT on Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score. If you’re a glutton for punishment and still want to watch Marquee without the trappings of a full-blown cable package, get a free preview of fuboTV and see if that’s a better fit.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 3, 2021