The Cubs busted out the bats in a big way last night and they’ve got the regulars back in place as they attempt to capture a much-needed series win. Ian Happ is in center, Willson Contreras is behind the plate, Anthony Rizzo is at first base, and Kris Bryant is at third. Joc Pederson is in left, Javy Báez is at short, Jason Heyward is in right, and David Bote completes the lineup at second.
Kyle Hendricks was a late scratch from his last start, but tested negative for COVID and is feeling well enough to take the ball in this one. He’s in for a tough matchup against a Braves lineup that comes into this game with a 1.017 OPS against him, a lot of which can be attributed to Marcell Ozuna. The former Cardinal has a 1.022 OPS and two homers in 32 at-bats against Hendricks.
Opposing the Cubs is 23-year-old Bryse Wilson, who has totaled just 42.2 innings across parts of three MLB seasons. The stout righty is making his first appearance of 2021, so it’s hard to know whether he’s made significant changes to a repertoire that saw him transition from more of a slider to a cutter and increase his sinker usage last season.
None of Wilson’s pitches graded out particularly well in 2019, but the slider and his little-used curveball were his best pitches last season. He has only faced the Cubs once before, back on June 27, 2019, and he got a no-decision after allowing six runs over 4.1 innings. He struck out six in that game, though only one of those was against a current Cub.
In case you were wondering, Carlos González struck out twice while Daniel Descalso, Kyle Schwarber, and Victor Caratini each went down on strikes once. Javy had the other one.
Here’s to hoping the thunder continues for a “homer-dependent” team that certainly took advantage of their strengths Saturday afternoon. First pitch is at 6:08pm CT on ESPN and 670 The Score.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 18, 2021