The Cubs got off to a great start last night, jumping all over Adam Wainwright for three early runs and making it look like they had a shot to even the series. Then the Cardinals scored eight unanswered runs and cruised to another easy victory. At this point, it’s all about avoiding the sweep.
Marcus Stroman has been inconsistent over his last handful of starts, including an outing against the Cards in late August that saw him give up five earned runs over as many innings. The righty struck out just one with two walks, a feat he repeated in his most recent start against the Blue Jays in Toronto. Stroman has been getting a ton of grounders, so that helps make up for the lack of swing-and-miss.
Opposing the Cubs is Miles Mikolas, another pitcher who relies much more on contact than whiffs to get outs. The Lizard King has faced the Cubs four times already this season, going 1-1 with 11 earned runs, 22 strikeouts, and six walks over 24 innings. He took the loss back at Wrigley a little less than two weeks ago and had a rough outing in Cincy five days later, so maybe he’s fading a little down the stretch.
Zach McKinstry leads off at second base, followed by Seiya Suzuki in right, Franmil Reyes at DH, and Ian Happ in left. Nico Hoerner is at short, Rafael Ortega is in center, P.J. Higgins is the catcher, and Alfonso Rivas is at first. Christopher Morel finishes things out at third base.
This is understandably not a lineup built to win ballgames, but it also feels like the Cubs are intentionally passing on opportunities to see what some of their prospects have got. While I’m well aware of the various roster implications involved in these decisions, the whole purgatory thing in which they’re neither competitive nor actively tanking is really tiresome.
First pitch is set for 1:15pm CT on Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 4, 2022