After beating the Pirates in the first game of the series, here’s how David Ross will line up his Cubs against Mitch Keller in game 2.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
1. Kris Bryant, 3B
2. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
3. Javy Baez, SS
4. Kyle Schwarber, LF
5. Willson Contreras, C
6. Jason Heyward, RF
7. Nico Hoerner, 2B
8. Ian Happ, CF
9. Victor Caratini, DH
Tonight will be just the 13th big league start of Mitch Keller’s career, so I don’t want to read too much into his splits too soon. I will say, however, that lefties (.407 wOBA) have produced significantly more than righties (.356 wOBA) so far. And in terms of FIP, the difference is more than a full run: 2.84 FIP v. 3.87 FIP. The Cubs also saw Keller twice at the end of last season, tagging him for 6 runs in 4.1 innings the first time around, but just 1 earned run in 5.0 innings the second time (with 7 strikeouts). Perhaps adjustments were made.
In any case, Kyle Schwarber (3-4, 2 2Bs, BB) has had the most success against Keller, and Jason Heyward hit a homer off him, as well.
But Keller is a young pitcher and the progress he might make in his second year could be substantial. In his first start of the season, for example, he held the Cardinals to just 2 hits and 3 walks over 5.0 innings of one-run baseball. As for pitch mix, he won’t overpower anyone with his fastball, but he’s got a good slider he uses often against righties and a changeup he pumps against lefties.
Today’s lineup is pretty much a collection of the usual suspects, with the only movement found in the order of batters 7, 8, and 9, which are almost always Hoerner, Caratini, and Happ in some order.
As usual, we’ll have your Pre-Gamin’ post closer to game time (7:15 CT).