The Cubs took Game 1.0 on Opening Day 2.0 to move 4.0 games ahead of St. Louis, which is nice. With the Brewers playing an incredibly weak schedule for the foreseeable future, it’s imperative that the Cubs keep winning.
Joc Pederson leads off in left, Kris Bryant is back at third base for the first time in nearly two months, and Javy Báez is at short. Anthony Rizzo is at first after a big shot yesterday, Willson Contreras is catching, and Ian Happ is in center. Jason Heyward in right and Sergio Alcántara at second round things out.
Kyle Hendricks has thrown five straight quality starts and he’s looking like the Cy Young contender of old at times, but the longball has still lingered as a nemesis. Limiting walks has allowed him to keep the damage to a minimum, now it’s a matter of settling in and keeping the Cardinals at bay. It’d be nice to get a vintage performance and allow his team to get an early lead.
The Cubs will be facing righty John Gant, whose fastball velocity has dropped off as his walks have skyrocketed. Though he once sat 96 mph on the heater, Gant is barely in the 90’s now and throws his four-seam just 10% of the time. He prefers the sinker, relying on it for nearly 40% of his offerings, but his cutter is his only really strong pitch.
Just about the only thing Gant has done well is keep the ball in the yard, though he gave up two bombs in a disastrous outing a few days ago against the Reds. His splits look pronounced until you get past batting average to see they’re actually pretty even. Simply put, this is a game in which the Cubs should be able to score.
First pitch is at 6:15pm CT on Fox 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 12, 2021