David Ross apparently didn’t get the memo about Christopher Morel spending more time at third base, but at least the slugger is playing a position rather than DH’ing. Morel has been a big part of the Cubs’ hot play of late, a stretch that includes a sweep of these Pirates back in Wrigley last week. The Bucs have been reeling since and the Cubs can pass them in the standings with another strong showing.
Mike Tauchman hit his first Cubs homer in Sunday’s loss and he’s back in the leadoff spot tonight playing center. Nico Hoerner follows at second, then it’s Seiya Suzuki as the DH and Ian Happ in left. Dansby Swanson is at short, Cody Bellinger takes first base, Morel is in right, and Yan Gomes is behind the plate. Miles Mastrobuoni is looking to improve upon his 25 wRC+ and -0.4 fWAR as the third baseman.
The pitching duel is a rematch of the second game of the previous series, with Drew Smyly taking on rookie Osvaldo Bido. The 27-year-old righty was bounced from his MLB debut a bit early, though he only allowed one run on four hits and three walks. He struck out six Cubs on the strength of a fastball/slider/change combo, though he only threw the offspeed stuff a few times.
If the Cubs can get to the bullpen quickly in this one, they’ve got a great shot to extend their winning ways over Pittsburgh. First pitch from PNC Park is at 6:05pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.
Here is tonight's #Cubs starting lineup in Pittsburgh.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 19, 2023