Chicago Cubs Lineup (7/14/22): Ortega Leads Off, Contreras DH, Thompson Starting

The Cubs have dropped six straight games and now face the first-place Mets for four games to close out the first half of the season. Does anyone else feel like it’d just be best to put the next several weeks on simulated mode so we can just dispense with the slog and just see where this team ends up? But hey, maybe this will be one of those long weekends where the Cubs wake up and make us wonder what might have been.

Keegan Thompson taking the mound is certainly reason for optimism, as the 27-year-old righty has pitched incredibly well against some of the better teams in baseball. If he can continue to keep his K/BB ratio high, Thompson will keep the Cubs in this one.

Going for the Mets is 35-year-old Carlos Carrasco, who isn’t nearly the same dominant force from his time in Cleveland. Cookie can still dial it up to the mid-90’s on occasion, but his slider isn’t scary any longer and he’s now throwing the changeup more frequently to maintain a little deception. He’s equally likely to throw the slider or change, with curve tossed up there every once in a while for good measure.

The Cubs are likely to see a lot of first-pitch strikes as Carrasco looks to get ahead before mixing in the junk, and he’s still plenty capable of missing bats. But because his stuff isn’t quite as hard or sharp as it used to be, a few of those pitches will leak over the plate to be tagged. He has given up at least six hits in five of his last six starts and he’s walked two or more in four of those games.

In short, the Cubs should get plenty of baserunners in this one. As we’ve seen all season, however, the trouble comes when trying to drive those runners home. Rafael Ortega will try to set the table in center, then it’s Willson Contreras at DH and Ian Happ in left. Seiya Suzuki cleans up in right, Nico Hoerner is at short, Patrick Wisdom is at third, and Alfonso Rivas is at first. Yan Gomes handles the catching duties and Christopher Morel bats ninth at second.

First pitch for Thursday’s opener is at 7:05pm CT on Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score.

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