Anthony Rizzo leads off as the Cubs try to avoid the inevitable tonight in Pittsburgh. He’s followed by Nicholas Castellanos in right, Ben Zobrist at second, Kyle Schwarber in left, and Willson Contreras behind the plate. Ian Happ is at third, Jason Heyward mans center, and Nico Hoerner is at short.
They’ll be facing rookie righty Dario Agrazal, whose 6.94 ERA would look enticing were it not for last night’s struggles against Mitch Keller and his 7.74 ERA. Unlike Keller, however, Agrazal is not a big strikeout pitcher and doesn’t possess big velocity. He relies heavily on a sinker that sits around 91 mph, supplementing it with a slider, change, and occasional four-seam.
Agrazal has given up multiple home runs in five of his 13 starts and has never struck out more than six in an outing. In fact, he’s registered two or fewer strikeouts in seven separate starts, so he’s going to give up a ton of contact. Or so we’d like to hope.
Since he has neither a big fastball nor a swing-and-miss secondary, Agrazal has been awful against righties. His reverse splits are absurd, with right-handed batters slashing .341/.392/.600 with a .410 wOBA. That may be a bit of a fluke from insanely disparate numbers on the road, since the 24-year-old is actually much more even when pitching at PNC.
Jon Lester will be on the bump for his final start of a 2019 campaign that has seen him showing more signs of slippage. Does he have a vintage performance left or is there even enough motivation left for that? Honestly, folks, I’ve got no idea what to expect from this one. You’d like to think the Cubs still have some fight left in there, so I guess we’ll see.
First pitch is at 6:05pm CT on WGN (second-to-last game ever) and 670 The Score.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 25, 2019