Chicago Cubs Lineup (Game 1 – 5/7/22): Smyly on Hill, Contreras Batting Leadoff, Wisdom Cleanup

A rainout yesterday means a doubleheader today for the Chicago Cubs (9-15) against what might just appear to be an immovable object in the Los Angeles Dodgers (16-7).

Since scoring 21 runs against the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 23, the Cubs are dead last in MLB with 19 total runs scored. The Dodgers, on the other hand, have the lowest ERA in baseball at 2.21 over the season. It might be a very long day if the Cubs don’t flip a switch at the plate and transform back to that team from April 23.

David Ross is mixing things up today, going with Willson Contreras at leadoff and playing catcher. Seiya Suzuki bats second play RF followed by Yan Gomes at DH, Patrick Wisdom in LF, Frank Schwindel at 1B, and Nico Hoerner at SS. Jonathan Villar has been rocky on the left side of the infield this season, he’ll be batting seventh and playing 3B followed by Michael Hermosillo in CF, and Nick Madrigal at 2B.

Drew Smyly (1-2, 2.79 ERA) has been the Cubs’ best pitcher this season but has shown hints of regression, giving up two home runs in each of his last two outings. If Smyly can get ahead in counts and continue to lure batters into soft contact, as he’s done most of the season, he might just stand a chance today. His curveball has been his go-to pitch working off his fastball/cutter combo while accounting for a 34.5% whiff rate. Expect much of the same today but watch out if his location isn’t somewhat close to perfect.

The Dodgers counter with stud Clayton Kershaw, a pitcher the Cubs have had a relative amount of success against. Kershaw’s 3.00 ERA against the Cubs is the fifth-highest of any team he’s faced throughout his career. That includes an ERA at Wrigley Field of 4.74, his second-highest at any ballpark. That’s not to say that history will repeat itself today, but eventually the Cubs are going to break out of this offensive funk and today is as good as any day to do it.

Game time is 12:05pm PT and it can be seen and heard on Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score.

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