Chicago Cubs Lineup (7/20/21): Contreras Leads Off, Bryant Cleans Up, Williams Pitching

Willson Contreras leads off behind the plate as the Cubs try to even the series after last night’s blowout. Anthony Rizzo bats second at first, Javier Báez mans short, and Kris Bryant is in left. Then it’s Jason Heyward in right, Patrick Wisdom at third, Nico Hoerner at second and Rafael Ortega in center.

Trevor Williams is starting for the first time since returning from the IL due to an emergency appendectomy and after his last scheduled start was postponed. That was supposed to have been the final game of the first half and it was against these same Cardinals, but am I the only one who feels like that was months ago? The Cubs have aged me, man.

Opposing the Cubs is big 23-year-old righty Johan Oviedo, who they last saw back on June 11 in Chicago for Opening Day 2.0. If you thought the end of the first half is way in the rearview, how about that big win over the Cardinals after falling behind early? Oviedo allowed four earned runs on five hits and a walk but was not saddled with the loss in a game the Cubs went on to win 8-5.

He’s been at Triple-A for a couple weeks and was just called up to make this start after being roughed up pretty good over 11 appearances for the Cards. He likes to work down in the zone with his 96 mph fastball and his slider, both of which have done better when it comes to getting grounders than swinging strikes. When they find the zone, that is. He doesn’t get many whiffs or called strikes, so his 6.79 K/9 is lower than you’d expect from a power pitcher.

His changeup has been atrocious, forcing to all but abandon it at times, and lefties have taken advantage. They’ve got a .361 wOBA against Oviedo so far, though he’s pitching to much more even splits at home. This is a guy who’s allowed at least five hits in seven starts and who has struck out more than five just once. He walks a lot of batters too, so the Cubs can afford to wait on mistakes in this one.

Or at least that’s what we have to hope they’ll do. First pitch is at 7:15pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.

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