The Cubs won in dramatic fashion Friday afternoon, riding a Willson Contreras two-run homer to a victory in a game that saw them produce very few opportunities. It was an emotional high point in a disappointing season that was supposed to have seen Contreras shipped out, but it still sucks that the wins don’t even matter at this point.
The wins may pile up at a higher rate through the rest of the season, however, as a soft remaining schedule awaits the Cubs. Heck, a win today could vault them back into third place in the division. They’ll be trying to do that behind Drew Smyly, another somewhat surprising non-trade. The lefty has been hit-or-miss this season and he’s coming off a rough start in San Francisco, so maybe he’ll be sharper today.
Going for the Marlins is 26-year-old Pablo López, who had been the subject of trade rumors himself. This is his 22nd start of the season, a new career high, and he’s already exceeded his previous high-water mark for innings. Though he’s not one to put up huge numbers in terms of strikeouts or velo, López is a very consistent strike-thrower who gets a lot of grounders and doesn’t surrender too many homers.
Like Smyly, López has experienced a little up-and-down action lately and just had a real stinker his last time out against the Mets. He is also prone to lapses in control, so the Cubs might be able to take advantage if he’s off his game today.
Rafael Ortega will get the first crack at doing just that as the center fielder, then it’s Willson Contreras at DH and Seiya Suzuki in right. Ian Happ is in left, Nico Hoerner is the shortstop, Frank Schwindel is at first, and P.J. Higgins is behind the plate. Zach McKinstry gets the start at third and Christopher Morel is at second.
First pitch is at 1:20pm CT on Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 6, 2022