Chicago Cubs Lineup (7/16/22, Game 2): Hoerner Cleanup, Schwindel DH, Smyly on Mound

This was originally supposed to be the early game, but Friday’s postponement turned today into a twin bill that saw the Cubs lose this afternoon in extras. That makes eight straight losses and their failure to score in either the 10th or 11th means they’ve failed to score in 13 of their last 14 extra inning chances. Tonight is a pretty lopsided matchup on paper even before considering the pitchers, so things don’t get better once you realize Max Scherzer is going for the Mets.

The 37-year-old is pitching as well as ever this season and has bounced back from an oblique issue to strike out 20 batters with no walks over his last two starts. He’s given up one run on a solo homer out of five total hits in 13 innings for the only run he surrendered in that time. With 79 strikeouts to 11 walks, the only real chance to get to him is to punish every one of the rare mistakes he’ll make.

He’s still got more or less the same repertoire with the same velo, so the Cubs will see a mid-90s fastball and a wicked slider with a change, cutter, and curve. Left-handed hitters fare much better against Scherzer and have hit five of the six homers he’s allowed, offering slim hope to get over on him.

Drew Smyly didn’t look nearly as good coming back from his own oblique injury as he labored through two innings in LA. The lefty looked like he was pushing his pitches to the plate, but he did touch 94 with the fastball and seemed to settle in after an ugly opening frame. Just as in that one, there’ll be precious little room for error this afternoon.

Rafael Ortega will lead off in center, followed by Ian Happ in left and Seiya Suzuki in right. The lineup essentially bumps up a spot after Ortega with Willson Contreras sitting to maintain his trade value to the Mets rest up with one more game before the break. Nico Hoerner bats cleanup, Frank Schwindel is the DH, Patrick Wisdom is at third, and Alfonso Rivas is at first. Yan Gomes is the catcher and David Bote is at second.

First pitch is at 7:05pm CT on Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score.

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