Chicago Cubs Lineup (4/24/22): Ortega Leads Off, Villar at SS, Steele Starting for Split
The Cubs hung three touchdowns on Pittsburgh in yesterday’s game, which makes it a football score even though the Bears aren’t capable of such a drubbing. Everything was working all afternoon as the home team banged out 23 hits with just one homer, their first of the year from a left-handed batter, and got all kinds of breaks.
It was the kind of game you only see once in a while, but the approach the Cubs employed to make it happen wasn’t all that different from what we’ve seen throughout the young season. With just three strikeouts on the afternoon, their constant onslaught of contact buried the Bucs in base knocks.
Rafael Ortega will get things started as the DH, followed by Seiya Suzuki in right and Willson Contreras behind the plate. Ian Happ cleans up in left, Frank Schwindel is at first, Jonathan Villar is the shortstop, and Jason Heyward is in center. Patrick Wisdom at third and Nick Madrigal at second complete the lineup.
Justin Steele is coming off of his shortest outing of the year, a 2.2 inning stinker in which he walked three with one strikeout and faced just 14 batters before leaving with four earned runs. The lefty clearly didn’t have his stuff in that one, which might be a good sign for this afternoon. Fastball location could make or break him here because he really needs to get ahead of hitters early in order to let the slider do its thing.
JT Brubaker is going for the visitors as he faces the Cubs for the first time this season. The 28-year-old righty is in his third MLB season and hasn’t been getting great results over his first few starts, so it’ll be a fun one for the Cubs if that trend holds.
Mainly a sinker/slider guy, Brubaker uses his 94 mph heat to set up a mix that also includes a curve, change, and four-seam. None of them have worked very well for him to this point, largely because he’s failed to locate well at all. He’s walking batters at a 15.3% clip, issuing multiple free passes in each of his three previous starts, and frequently falling behind in the count means having to come back with strikes hitters can sit on.
While he’s capable of striking out his fair share of batters, this has all the hallmarks of a matchup the Cubs should be able to exploit. And if left-handed batters continue to give him trouble, maybe we’ll see yet another homer from that side of the plate. How about Happ going yard?
First pitch from Wrigley is set for 1:20pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.
Here is today's #Cubs starting lineup! pic.twitter.com/J7le2TsUaJ
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 23, 2022