Ian Happ leads off in center, followed by David Bote at third, Anthony Rizzo at first, and Kris Bryant in left. Javy Báez is at short, Jason Heyward is in right, Nico Hoerner is at second, and Austin Romine is behind the plate.
Jake Arrieta has been nails in his second stint with the Cubs and now he has a chance to avenge his only loss so far in four starts. The Brewers managed only four hits while walking just once and striking out five times in as many innings a week and a half ago, but two of those runs came early and the Cubs were in the middle of their hitting funk.
Offense figures to be at a premium in this one with Brandon Woodruff taking the bump for the visitors. He has somehow recorded just one win despite a 1.96 ERA and 1.75 FIP, which tells us his team hasn’t done the best job of supporting him. Not having Christian Yelich won’t help matters.
Woodruff’s most recent start was a one-hit effort against the Padres that saw him punch out seven while walking three over six innings. He allowed only one run, the third consecutive game in which he’s surrendered one or less. The first two of those were both against the Cubs, in case you were wondering.
Of note, Woodruff threw his slider a lot more against the Pads afters going to it only sparingly against the Cubs in those two previous outings. He’s favored the curve a little more than usual in the early going, but look for him to again lean on that slider as a way to keep the Cubs guessing. Then again, maybe he’s confident enough in that big fastball to ride it all afternoon.
The Cubs did a good job of attacking Freddy Peralta yesterday and will need a similar approach against Woodruff if they want to be at least moderately successful. That may not necessarily mean trying to jump on first-pitch fastballs, even though Woodruff appears to be throwing a lot of them. While his first pitch strike percentage of 69% looks really nice, he’s only been around 60% when facing the Cubs because he knows he can get them to chase.
Will this third meeting be same old, same old or will the Cubs figure out their opponent. We’ll find out at 1:20pm CT on Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 25, 2021