Joc Pederson is back tonight after a two-game absence and he’s right back at the top of the lineup playing left. He’s followed by Kris Bryant in center, Anthony Rizzo at first, and Willson Contreras catching. Patrick Wisdom is once again at third batting fifth, Jason Heyward returns to the starting lineup batting sixth and playing right, Sergio Alcántara is at short, and Eric Sogard is batting eighth playing second.
Zack Davies cruised through May with a 1.72 ERA, but ran into a spot of bother in San Francisco when the Giants roughed him up for four runs on eight hits. None of those hits left the yard, though, and Davies has done an excellent job of avoiding the longball. Too bad that hasn’t mattered much when it comes to his (in)ability to go deep into games.
Should the slender righty once again encounter some early trouble, David Ross may have to make him wear it. The bullpen can’t be forced to pick up a majority of the innings each game, so here’s to hoping Davies is locked in.
Going for San Diego is 28-year-old righty Dinelson Lamet, a hard-throwing slider specialist whose last start came against the Cubs at Wrigley. He’s had a very short leash so far this year and his four innings against the Cubs are the most he tallied this season, but he could be ready to stretch a little further this time.
Lamet’s fastball sits around 95 mph, nearly two full ticks below last season, but his power slider is still exceeding 86 mph and getting plenty of bad swings. And he throws that slider about 52% of the time, so the potential is there for some really awkward at-bats if he’s on.
Lamet wants to get ahead in the count to make the slider more effective, so he’ll throw a high percentage of first-pitch strikes. That could mean getting aggressive is the way to handle him, though it wouldn’t be a bad idea to force him to throw a lot of pitches to see if he gets gassed out.
If that happens, he could hang a mistake and give the Cubs a chance to hang some crooked numbers. That wasn’t the case last week, when he allowed just one run on four hits in as many innings of work. He also struck out six with just one walk, so you have to worry that he’s hitting his stride.
The Cubs really need this one with Yu Darvish facing Jake Arrieta in Wednesday’s finale, so this would be a great time for Lamet to stumble. First pitch is at 9:10pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score. If you’re in-market and looking to get the game via streaming service, check out a free preview of fuboTV.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 8, 2021