Chicago Cubs Lineup (7/24/21): Ortega Leads Off, Bryant in LF, Mills on Mound

Rafael Ortega will get the party started this afternoon, followed by Kris Bryant in left and Javier Báez at short. Anthony Rizzo cleans up at first, Willson Contreras is behind the plate, Patrick Wisdom is at third, Jason Heyward is in right, and Nico Hoerner is at second.

Alec Mills got absolutely hosed by his defense during his last start, with just one of the five runs he allowed being earned. He struck out six with two walks and ended up leaving early because the Cubs just kept giving the Cardinals free runs and bases. As he’s done each time out as a starter, Mills keeps his team in the game and gives them a chance to win.

Merrill Kelly put up a game score of 69 by dominating the Cubs through eight innings. He was cruising toward a complete game before Bryant opened the 9th with a double and scored on a Javy single. It wasn’t a fluke either, as the Cardinals’ Jake Woodford shut the Cubs down with an approach that is almost exactly the same as Kelly’s.

The Arizona righty sets off his 92 mph fastball with a sinker, curve, change, and cutter, the latter of which has been pretty effective for him this season and over the course of his career. The four-seam has not been so great, but the sinker is decent and the curve has been consistently good.

Despite holding them down early, Kelly gave up six hits to the Cubs and has allowed at least four hits in all but one of his 19 starts this season. He doesn’t walk many, so he’ll be in the zone all afternoon and there should be plenty of contact as long as the bats aren’t made of Swiss cheese.

First pitch is at 1:20pm CT on Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (out of market only) and 670 The Score.

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