The Cubs have once again found their stride after limping back from St. Louis losers of seven of their last 10 games. With the offense humming and the news of Craig Kimbrel sending all kinds of energy through the organization, they take the field today with a chance to sweep the Rockies out of town and increase their division lead.
Kyle Schwarber has collected six hits and has struck out only three times over the last four games as he holds down the leadoff spot. Kris Bryant shifts back out to right for this one, Anthony Rizzo is at first, and Javy Báez plays short.
Willson Contreras catches, David Bote handles the hot corner coming off of a hot performance in which he drove in seven runs, and Albert Almora Jr. is back in the lineup playing center after a four-day absence. Daniel Descalso rounds things out at second base.
They’ll be facing 22-year-old righty Peter Lambert, who’s making his MLB debut after scheduled starter Jon Gray discovered a hot spot on his throwing hand and needed to avoid a blister. The Rockies’ top pitching prospect, Lambert has built his professional career on consistency, both in terms of his health and his ability to throw strikes.
Beyond that, though, there isn’t really anything in Lambert’s game that jumps out. He’s got decent stuff and locates well, but doesn’t miss many bats and has been stung by the longball this year at Triple-A. An ERA north of 5.00 and a FIP fairly close to that in 22 starts at the top rung of the farm doesn’t scream, “Ace!”
Here’s what the folks at FanGraphs had to say in their scouting report from late May:
Nothing he throws is plus, though you could argue that the fastball is due to its odd approach angle. It sits in the mid-90s and lives in the top part of the strike zone, riding in on the hands of righties. His changeup is average, flashing above, and Lambert has long deployed it with veteran cunning, and he’ll run it back onto the glove-side corner of the plate for looking strikes.
So the Cubs get a rookie in his first game, pitching at Wrigley against a hot offense buoyed by the imminent arrival of an elite closer. This one has all the earmarks of a classic beatdown. Or, you know, the kind of game that makes you want to tear your hair out as the Cubs flail against a very hittable pitcher.
Going for the home team is José Quintana, who has been very good at home this season (2.84 ERA) and has maintained a solid-if-not-spectacular run overall. He’s had a little trouble with the members of this Rox roster over the years, though much of that has come in limited exposure. The only two batters with more than 10 at-bats, Chris Iannetta and Mark Reynolds, shouldn’t really factor in this one.
Q will want to watch out for little-known third baseman Nevin Alamogordo, who hits southpaws really well and is on track for a season that could finally put him on the radar outside of Colorado. It’s going to be cool and cloudy in this one, so Quintana should be able to keep the ball in the yard if he’s changing speeds and working down in the zone.
First pitch is at 1:20pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago and 670 The Score.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 6, 2019