Chicago Cubs Lineup (8/10/21, Game 1): Ortega Leads Off, Deichmann in RF, Steele Makes First MLB Start

Rafael Ortega leads off in center, followed by Willson Contreras behind the plate, and Ian Happ in left. Probably not great when your No. 3 hitter is batting .177 late in the season. Patrick Wisdom cleans up and plays third, Greg Deichmann is in right, and Frank Schwindel is at first. Andrew Romine is the shortstop and Sergio Alcántara is at second.

Justin Steele went 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA and 21 strikeouts over 13.1 innings across 11 relief appearances for the Cubs before a hamstring injury shut him down in late May. Since coming off the IL and being stretched out with five starts in Iowa, he has a 0.87 ERA with 27 strikeouts over 20.2 innings and has been maintaining his upper-90’s velocity through the ends of his outings. He was already on track to start Tuesday and may benefit from the 7-inning doubleheader structure.

Freddy Peralta has already faced the Cubs four times this season and he’s 2-0 with five runs allowed over 21 innings. He’s also got 33 strikeouts and has allowed only 10 hits in that time, though he’s walked 11 men. The 14.14 K/9 Peralta has put up against the Cubs is higher than his 12.16 on the season, just as his 4.71 BB/9 is higher than his 3.87 against all teams.

Of course, those first four starts came against a much better and more experienced Cubs lineup. You might think the Cubs could get the benefit of good luck to counter what appears to be an unsustainably low .189 BABIP, but Peralta actually had a .192 mark when the Cubs last faced him. The guy just doesn’t give up many hits.

Peralta’s 93 mph fastball doesn’t look overpowering on paper, but he locates it well and has a strong suite of secondaries to keep hitters honest. Chief among those is the slider, which he throws nearly 27% of the time. His change is pretty pedestrian and only makes up about 10% of his repertoire, then comes a curve that is one of the best in the game in terms of relative value.

The Cubs are obviously not trying to be competitive and it’s going to be really difficult to get over on a Brewers team that has something to play for. First pitch is at 1:20pm CT on Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score.

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