The Cubs have won four straight games against the Cardinals and Red Sox, locking in three straight series wins and propelling them into a third-place tie with the Pirates in the NL Central. Funny what happens when they actually start hitting with runners on base, huh?
Sweeps have become exceedingly rare for this team, but they’ve got a chance to bust out the brooms Sunday after scraping by with two close ones against Boston. Keegan Thompson will spearhead that effort from the mound as he looks for his fourth straight outing of at least six innings. He recorded a career-high 19 outs in a loss to the Reds his last time out, and he looked good doing it right up until the end.
The righty had eight strikeouts with no walks and probably should have been lifted before the 7th inning, which he opened with a fly out and a pair of singles. Rowan Wick struck out the first batter he faced before allowing a homer, charging Thompson with two of the four runs he allowed. This Red Sox lineup is more formidable than what Cincy boasts, so staying aggressive and attacking them will be key.
Rafael Ortega is back in center and leading off, followed by Willson Contreras at DH and Ian Happ in left. Patrick Wisdom is at third, Nico Hoerner is at short, P.J. Higgins is doing the catching, and Alfonso Rivas is at first. Nelson Velazquez bats eighth in right and Christopher Morel finishes out the lineup at second.
Remember that part earlier about driving in runs? This might come as a shock, but the Cubs have done a better job of that when the bottom of the order isn’t stocked with negative run-producers. Weird.
It might not hurt that they’ll be facing 26-year-old Connor Seabold, who has a very robust 10.57 career ERA. The righty has only made two MLB starts in two seasons, though, so maybe it’s best to avoid taking that number too seriously. Seabold is making his second appearance of the season following a disastrous effort in Toronto that saw him allow seven earned runs on nine hits, including three homers.
He struck out seven and only walked one, so we can assume he’s going to work the zone in this one. Not a very hard thrower, Seabold will go to his 92 mph fastball about 55% of the time. He also has a slider that features more drop than sweep and is sometimes confused for a curveball, then there’s his 80 mph changeup that he’ll throw up to a quarter of the time.
If the Cubs can keep putting runners on base and take advantage of the opportunities Seabold is almost certain to give them, they can make it five in a row. First pitch is set for 1:20pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 3, 2022