Chicago Cubs Lineup (4/17/21): Williams Looking to Bounce Back From Rough Pittsburgh Outing, Happ Leading Off, Bryant Batting Cleanup

Ian Happ will lead off and play centerfield for the Cubs today as they continue to attempt to get their sluggish offense back on track. Willson Contreras bats second and is catching, followed by Anthony Rizzo at first, Kris Bryant at third, Joc Pederson in left, and Javier Báez at short. Jason Heyward is batting seventh playing left, and David Bote bats ninth playing second.

Like yesterday’s starter, Trevor Williams is hoping to put a terrible performance in Pittsburgh behind him. Come to think of it, that’s what Williams was going to be doing all year after his last two seasons with the Pirates. In any case, he allowed five runs on 10 hits over just 3.1 innings while taking the loss. If there’s any good news, it’s that Williams hasn’t allowed a home run after giving up 15 in 55.1 innings last season and 27 in 145.2 innings the previous year.

Going for the Braves is 22-year-old Huascar Ynoa, who has been incredible through three appearances (two starts) this season. The young righty pitched just one inning of relief in his season debut and has ramped up with five and six innings in his last two starts. In that time, he has struck out 15 with just two walks and has allowed just one run on six hits.

Ynoa can run the fastball up there in the high 90’s and sits 97 mph, setting up a nasty slider that has generated a lot of bad swings so far. Far more than an out-pitch, the breaking ball has accounted for 42% of Ynoa’s offerings so far. Believe it or not, that’s actually down nearly 5% from last season. He also has a changeup that he goes to on occasion, a very firm upper-80’s pitch that has gotten very good results in limited usage.

You’d think that kind of repertoire would make him murder on righties, but Ynoa has actually handled lefty batters a little better in his young career. I’m not sure that will matter at all given the way the Cubs have been hitting this season, but it’s something to note.

First pitch is set for 1:20pm CT on Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score.

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