Today’s game may feature the fewest whiffs of any you’ll see all year because Kyle Hendricks is taking on former Cub Wade Miley. Hendricks ranks 183rd of 191 pitchers (40 IP min.) with a 7.3% swinging-strike rate and Miley’s 6.4% is 188th. They’re somewhat flipped in terms of K/9, with Hendricks (4.75) at 188th and Miley (5.40) at 185th. All of which is to say defense will be paramount in this one.
The good news is that, regardless of the outcome, the game should move at a very brisk pace. I’m setting the over/under at 2:15 and I’m hoping for the under.
The Cubs might also benefit from scoring after the first few innings, so Nico Hoerner will need to spur things at second base. Dansby Swanson is at short, Ian Happ is in left, and Christopher Morel cleans up at third. Seiya Suzuki is in right, Trey Mancini is at first, Cody Bellinger is in center, and Yan Gomes is the DH. Miguel Amaya round things out as the catcher.
Miley is pretty much the same guy Cubs fans knew from his brief stint in Chicago, heavy on cutters with his fastball and change making up most of the rest. He’ll mix in sliders, sinkers, and curves on occasion, but that initial trio of pitches makes up about 90% of what he throws. One big difference in his results so far, however, is that he’s getting a lot fewer grounders than at any point in the past.
He’s also walking fewer batters, which, combined with the lower strikeout numbers and very low .231 BABIP, tells us he’s due for regression. This matchup feels very similar to yesterday’s with Julio Teheran, though we all know how that ended up. I don’t have stats to support this, but it sure feels like the Cubs are the worst team in the league when it comes to scoring after they jump out to an early lead.
Probably just recency bias, though I could swear there have been at least 10 games in which they were up 4-0 or better and then just pissed it all away. I just hope they can set off some fireworks while stifling the Brewers this afternoon.
First pitch is at 3:10pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.
Here is today's #Cubs starting lineup.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 4, 2023