The Cubs took two of three from the Dodgers in Chavez Ravine prior to their beatdown of the A’s in Oakland, but now LA comes to Chicago for four games over a long weekend series. The Cubs are going to have to face a pair of starters they missed last time around, so the matchups are going to be a little different. This opener was supposed to have had a very familiar look, as it was the same one we saw in the Cubs’ only loss last Saturday, but things have changed.
Jameson Taillon was very good in that one, pitching his best game as a Cub with just two hits allowed over five innings of work. Javier Assad is now starting rather than Taillon, who has been placed on the 15-day IL with a mild-to-moderate groin strain. Assad struggled in a relief role before being optioned to Triple-A, so let’s hope starting will get him going. Let’s also hope the Cubs provide more than one run of support.
Nico Hoerner will lead off at second, followed by Dansby Swanson at short and Ian Happ in left. Seiya Suzuki is in right, Cody a Bellinger is in center, Patrick Wisdom is at third, and Eric Hosmer is at DH after hitting his first Cubs homer yesterday. Trey Mancini will try to break out of his slump as the first baseman and Tucker Barnhart is the catcher.
Righty Michael Grove pitched his best game of the season last week, to the point that he should have added another “o” to his last name. He really went heavy on his slider, throwing it for over 44% of his pitches to keep the Cubs from squaring him up. The only hitter who was able to do any damage was Wisdom, who hit a solo homer as one of the two hits Grove surrendered.
The Cubs hit Grove pretty hard and they hit it in the air more frequently than he usually allows, so they may have been bitten by a bit of bad luck. That’s exactly the case if you look at their .091 BABIP, so conventional wisdom — and an unconventional Wisdom, as we’ve seen so far — holds that they’ll be able to get a few more of those batted balls to drop tonight.
It’d be a good idea to start hot in this one because Julio Urías, Clayton Kershaw, and Dustin May are lined up for the next three.
First pitch from Wrigley is at 6:40pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.
Back at the Friendly Confines! Here is today's #Cubs starting lineup.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 20, 2023