This is a rematch of last Sunday in LA, a game the Cubs won by the slimmest margin thanks in large part to homers from Patrick Wisdom and Cody Bellinger. After an eight-run outburst in the first game of that series, the Cubs have scored just six total runs in the last three Dodgers contests despite hitting four homers. It might help if more than two players were responsible for them.
Drew Smyly was decent in that last start, keeping the Dodgers at bay for 17 outs by allowing just one run on four hits. He struck out three and walked two, so it was far from a dominant performance, but he kept his team in the game the whole time. He may be expected to eat some innings in this one after yesterday’s short start.
The Cubs really need to generate more offense, and they’ve got their regular foursome at the top as they try to do just that. Nico Hoerner keeps reaching base as the leadoff batter, Dansby Swanson is at short, and Ian Happ is in lefty. Seiya Suzuki is in right, Wisdom is the DH, and Bellinger is in center as he continues to heat up at the plate.
Trey Mancini may be climbing out of his slump, which is good because the Cubs are getting some of the worst production in MLB from first base. Yan Gomes is back behind the plate with a lefty on the mound for LA, then it’s Nick Madrigal at third base.
Julio Urías is on the mound for LA and he’ll be looking to avenge what was his worst start of the year so far. Though the homers were obviously the deciding factors, the lefty gave up eight hits and didn’t finish the 6th inning for the first time in four appearances.
None of his pitches were working particularly well last time, which isn’t really a good thing for the Cubs because Urías can’t be expected to be flat again this afternoon. His best pitch is the slurve he throws about a third of the time, getting both depth and sweep to work from the upper-middle of the zone to down and in on righties’ feet. His cutter is actually more valuable on a per-pitch basis, though he only throws it about 8% of the time.
This could very well be another low-scoring game in which the Cubs need to grind it out and hold on at the end. First pitch is set for 1:20pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score, with MLB Network carrying the broadcast for out-of-market viewers.
Here is today's #Cubs starting lineup.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 21, 2023