Chicago Cubs Lineup (4/30/21): Contreras Leads Off, Bryant Second, Hoerner in LF, Arrieta Pitching

Willson Contreras leads off tonight, Kris Bryant bats second in right, Anthony Rizzo bats third, and Javy Báez cleans up. Matt Duffy is at third, Jake Marisnick is in center, David Bote is at second, and Nico Hoerner handles left field.

Jake Arrieta wasn’t signed to resume his role as the Cubs’ ace, but that’s exactly what has happened through five starts. The bearded righty has rekindled some of that old magic, countering the continued downward trend in his velocity with a renewed devotion to the sinker and curve. He’d gotten away from those a bit in Philly and now we’re seeing pitch usage more reminiscent of 2016 or ’17.

Toeing the rubber for the Reds is well-traveled lefty Wade Miley, who is in his second season with Cincy. He made only four starts last season and will pass that mark tonight as he looks to extend one of the best early stretches of his career. The 34-year-old has a 2.45 ERA by combining excellent control with a penchant for grounders as he gets hitters to chase his pitches.

Miley is working in the zone just 33.3% of the time, lower than at any point in his career and lower than all but three other pitchers with at least 10 innings logged this season. That he’s only walking hitters at a 5.8% clip is a testament to his command, though it’s also a matter of not having traditionally electric stuff.

As with so many of his long-in-the-tooth southpaw brethren, Miley works in the mid-80’s for the most part and relies on location far more than deception from a big repertoire. His cutter (53%) and change (32%) make up an overwhelming majority of his offerings, with the fastball (11.2%), sinker (2.4%), and curve (1.5%) serving as window dressing.

There’s a lot of room here for some correction, as Miley is limiting left-handed batters to a paltry .121 wOBA with just a .237 OPS that is 417 points below his career average. He hasn’t been nearly as tough on righties, but his performance there is still quite a bit better than historical results tell us it should be. Then again, he’s limited this Cubs roster to a .137 average and .435 OPS with just one total homer over 99 career at-bats.

That dinger came from Bryant, the only Cub who’s really don’t anything of note against Miley. How about another one for one of the hottest hitters in baseball?

First pitch from GABP is set for 6:10pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.

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