The Cubs are once again without two of their best players as they finish out a tough June with one more against the Brewers. Willson Contreras leads off behind the plate, Patrick Wisdom is at first, Joc Pederson is in left, and Javier Báez plays short. Jake Marisnick is in center, Ian Happ is in right, Eric Sogard is at third, and Sergio Alcántara bats eighth at second.
Jake Arrieta is no longer the starter you’d choose to take the mound when the Cubs really need a win, but he can be that guy in Milwaukee with a chance to prevent a sweep. He’s pitched fairly well against the Brewers in two previous outings this year and he’ll need to do so again to support an offense that hasn’t performed well in July.
Going for the Brewers is lefty Aaron Ashby, who is making his MLB debut as originally scheduled starter Corbin Burnes gets the day off. That might not necessarily be good news for the Cubs because Ashby has some nasty stuff. The question, however, is whether he can control it and how long he can go.
Aaron Ashby messing with Andrew Vaughn's timing. Three different motions on three consecutive pitches.
He caused some noticeably uncomfortable swings in his inning of work today – 3 Ks.
— Lance Brozdowski (@LanceBroz) March 1, 2021
Ashby was moved to the bullpen earlier this month to set him up as a multi-inning reliever in Milwaukee and he hasn’t gone more than two innings since the shift. He’s also prone to control issues, so he wasn’t always going deep even as a starter. His last outing was four days ago and he went 1.2 innings in that one, so it seems like he could go three if he’s working efficiently.
The fastball sits around 93 mph while touching 95 and his changeup is supposed to be developing really well. He’s also got a slow curve that he uses more as a show-me pitch to mess with hitters’ timing, but the slider is easily his best pitch and has been hailed as one of the best breaking balls in the Brewers system. He’s supposedly got a sinker as well, giving him a five-pitch mix.
That repertoire may be shortened up a little bit given his usage, so we’ll just have to see how Ashby is able to control everything given the adrenaline dump. It’s reasonable to believe the excitement of his debut could exaggerate issues that are already prevalent, though his ability to miss bats could really tax a Cubs team that loves to swing and miss.
First pitch from American Family Field is set for 1:10pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score. If you’re tired of cable or satellite and still have a hankering to watch the Cubs, let us offer you a free preview of fuboTV, the only streaming service to offer Marquee.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 30, 2021