Don’t look now, but the Cubs have a winning streak going. They’ll look to extend that streak to four games as they take on the Pittsburgh Pirates today at Wrigley Field.
Michael Hermosillo will lead off today playing center, followed by NL Rookie of the Month Frank Schwindel who’s playing first, Patrick Wisdom at third, Matt Duffy at second, and red-hot Ian Happ in right. Andrew Romine bats sixth catching, Alfonso Rivas follows playing left, and Sergio Alcantara hits eighth playing short.
Alec Mills was tremendous last time out against the White Sox on the South Side, making up for a stinker against KC six days earlier. He won’t have quite as strong a lineup to face this time out and he’s generally been very good as a starter, so he should give the Cubs every opportunity to win this afternoon.
Opposing Mills is the heavily-tattooed Steven Brault, who I think faces the Cubs 15 times every season. Those appearances have been limited by a lat strain that kept him out until August 4, so this is just his sixth start of the season. The 29-year-old lefty looked good at Triple-A in rehab and was excellent through four starts until giving up seven runs to the Cardinals in his last appearance.
With a fastball that sits around 91, Brault isn’t going to overpower anyone. The four-seam has been working well and he throws it about 36% of the time, then he’ll deploy the sinker, slider, and change at about 20% apiece. A curve makes up the rest of his repertoire, though it hasn’t been very good in limited action.
The change has actually been his worst pitch this year, which is a drastic change from past seasons and may be a matter of lacking feel for it. That pitch was very bad in his second start, skewing the numbers a bit.
Though Brault is typically tougher on lefties, his career road splits are almost identical and speak to him struggling when he’s away from Pittsburgh. Perhaps his best asset is the ability to keep the ball in the yard, something he has to do given the big walk numbers and lack of much swing-and-miss. The Cubs will probably need to string some hits together to win this one, but that shouldn’t be a problem.
First pitch from Wrigley is at 1:20pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 3, 2021