Lefty Justin Steele (1-4, 5.32 ERA) opened the season looking like a potential high-end starter against the Milwaukee Brewers. Over five innings he allowed no runs on four hits, a walk, and five strikeouts. That game still stands as his longest outing so far this season by 2/3 of an inning, it’s the only time he’s allowed no runs, it was his lowest walks total, and the most strikeouts he’s thrown.
While that tends to make you feel like the rock on the side of the cliff is crumbling a bit, it actually may not be as bad as it seems. In fact, the issue may be much less about the quality of his pitching and more about the defense playing behind him. His FIP on the season stands at a respectable 3.76, which is 1.56 points less than his ERA. His BABIP is .352 and when you compare that to the league average BABIP of .284 you see that he’s either having really bad luck or his defense isn’t making plays behind him. Or both. Hopefully, that changes for him today.
Rafael Ortega leads off playing center, Willson Contreras is next catching, he’s followed by Ian Happ in left, Seiya Suzuki in right, and Alfonso Rivas at first. Patrick Wisdom is due, he’s batting sixth playing third, Frank Schwindel bats seventh at DH, Jonathan Villar is a second and Ildemaro Vargas is at short.
First pitch in Arizona is scheduled for 3:10pm CT. The game will be broadcast on Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 15, 2022