Chicago Cubs Lineup (6/4/22, Game 2): Morel Leads Off, Kilian Makes MLB Debut

The Cubs bounced back from Friday’s drubbing with a win in Game 1 behind Frank Schwindel‘s hot hitting and another great start from Matt Swarmer. Now they see if they can sweep the twin bill behind rookie Caleb Kilian, who is making his first MLB start after dominating Triple-A. Kilian might not have gotten this opportunity were it not for injuries to Wade Miley and Drew Smyly, so now he’ll try to make the most of it.

With a 2.06 ERA and 41 strikeouts to just 15 walks in 39.1 innings for Iowa, the only real question with Kilian to this point is whether he can go deep into games. The Cubs were really limiting him early on, but have stretched him out to around 80 pitches and should continue to give him more leash throughout the season. Given his reputation for throwing strikes, he could still log a lot of innings despite a decreased pitch count.

Kilian’s fastball approaches triple digits and could play up due to adrenaline, then he follows it up with a firm cutter and a knuckle-curve. He’s also got a changeup that is coming around, so the pitch mix is already MLB caliber. This is a really exciting moment for both the young pitcher and an organization that has been searching far too long for a homegrown top-line starter.

Joining Kilian in making his first MLB start is Andre Pallante, a 23-year-old righty who has made 17 relief appearances this season. Most of those have been more than one inning and Pallante has gone at least three in each of his last two outings, so the Cards are hoping he can give them at least that many tonight.

His 1.07 ERA looks very impressive, but Pallante isn’t a very intimidating pitcher. Even though he boasts a 95 mph fastball and a good slider, he relies on groundball contact rather than whiffs. He’s only struck out 18 in 25.1 innings and the Cubs should be able to make plenty of contact, it’s just a matter of stringing it together and jumping out early.

That starts with Christopher Morel, who is leading off yet again at second base after logging his first three-hit game earlier. Willson Contreras is the DH, Ian Happ is in left, and Schwindel is at first. Patrick Wisdom is the third baseman, Rafael Ortega is in center, and P.J. Higgins is behind the dish.

The bottom of the order offers little punch, with Jason Heyward in right and Andrelton Simmons at short, but maybe they’ll be able to make something happen.

First pitch is at 6:15pm CT on FOX and 670 The Score.

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