Rafael Ortega leads things off tonight for the Chicago Cubs as they travel to the South Side to play the Chicago White Sox. Frank Schwindel bats second playing first base, he’s followed by Ian Happ at DH, Patrick Wisdom at third, Patrick Duffy playing second, Jason Heyward in right, Michael Hermosillo in left, Robinson Chirinos catching, and Sergio Alcantara
Alec Mills had a bit of a stinker last time out against the Royals, giving up seven earned runs on 12 hits through just four innings. He didn’t walk anyone and struck out five, though, plus he kept the ball in the yard. Mills has done a very good job of getting grounders, so maybe he can help the Cubs keep this one from turning into a football game.
Lance Lynn takes the mound sporting a 2.20 ERA that trails only the 2.02 of Walker Buehler for best in MLB among qualified pitchers. He’s also striking out batters at a 27.2% clip, the second-highest of his career, and he hasn’t given up many homers despite a mere 36% groundball rate.
Lynn’s success this season has come from a significant change to his repertoire that sees him throwing the slider/cutter a lot more than ever. He’s still a big fastball guy and he’ll throw a combination of the two- and four-seam over 60% of the time, but that breaking ball — it’s different depending on the tracking — is at about 31% this season.
The mix was different when he faced the Cubs last, as he threw more hard stuff and fewer cutters in holding his opponents to one run on four hits. Even though it worked quite well, I’d expect him to get back to more of his standard sequencing in this one. He’ll also mix in the change and curve only sparingly when he feels like giving hitters a little wrinkle. The fastball sits 94 and the two-seam is a couple ticks slower, but the key is location that allows him to avoid hard contact.
Lynn is not overpowering and doesn’t have wipeout stuff, but he’s got an incredibly repeatable delivery that allows him to be exceptionally consistent. That means hitters have to guess more frequently, though they have a hard time squaring him up even when they guess right. Also when they guess left, up, or down.
First pitch from G-Rate is at 6:10pm CT on Marquee, NBC Sports Chicago, ESPN 1000, and 670 The Score.
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— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 28, 2021