Chicago Cubs Lineup (8/11/21): Ortega Leads Off, Happ Still Batting Third, Arrieta Pitching

Hit machine Rafael Ortega leads off in center as the Cubs try to recover from the doubleheader sweep, followed by Willson Contreras behind the plate and Ian Happ in left. This isn’t a good matchup for Happ to finally get out of his season-long rut, but no matchup has been good for him this season and it’s wild that he’s still batting third.

Frank Schwindel is cleaning up at first, Matt Duffy is at third, Greg Deichmann is in right, David Bote is at second, and Andrew Romine is at short. This is a lineup built to contend…for a single-digit draft pick. You just have to hope some of these guys prove that they deserve a spot next season.

Remember when Jake Arrieta starting the game meant a win for the Cubs? Boy, how things have changed as it’s now literally the exact opposite. Arrieta hasn’t gotten a win since May 25 against the Pirates and the Cubs haven’t won a game he’s started since June 9 against the Padres. Over his last 10 starts, Arrieta is 0-6 and the Cubs are 1-9 with seven straight losses.

It can’t rain all the time, right?

Corbin Burns is more or less than anti-Arrieta at this point because he hasn’t taken a loss since May 25. He’s only 4-0 in 11 starts since then, but the Brewers are 9-2 with both losses coming by just one run apiece. The moral of the story is that the Burnes is really freaking good and has a tendency to dominate.

He did just that in his only appearance against the Cubs this season, holding them scoreless and giving up just two hits over six innings. He struck out 10 and didn’t walk anyone in that game as he opened the season with five straight walkless starts. On the season, Burnes has 157 strikeouts with just 21 walks and he’s allowed only five homers.

Burnes loves his power cutter and he’ll throw it more than 52% of the time to baffle hitters. He throws that pitch at 95 mph, just a tick slower than his fastball and two-seam, so it’s very hard for hitters to differentiate until they realize they’ve struck out. Burnes also has an excellent curve that he’ll throw about 16% of the time, plus he’s got a slider that he throws at 87 with more break than the cutter.

This is a very bad matchup for a Cubs team that has been striking out at about a 36% clip since the trade deadline, but even getting back to their contact-hitting ways might not help. Almost no one can barrel Burnes up and he gets a lot of grounders, so the key to beating him is really just to hope you can outlast him and get to the bullpen.

Barring a poor game from Burnes and a vintage performance from Arrieta, this has all the markings of a walkover. We’ll find out when the game gets underway at 7:05pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.

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