Chicago Cubs Lineup (9/22/21): Ortega Leads Off, Thompson in RF, Hendricks Pitching

Rafael Ortega leads off in center with Frank Schwindel at first, Patrick Wisdom at third, and Ian Happ in the cleanup spot playing left. Matt Duffy is at second, Robinson Chirinos is the catcher, Nico Hoerner is the shortstop, and Trayce Thompson will try for another homer while playing right.

Remember when Kyle Hendricks got his 14th win to lead MLB in that category despite pitching for a team picking in the top 10 of the next draft? Well, that was over a month ago and Hendricks is still on 14 wins after going 0-1 over his last five starts. It’s pretty incredible that he wasn’t saddled with losses in starts that saw him allow four, six, and seven earned runs.

There was talk about possibly shutting the veteran down early, but he wants to keep going and he’s earned the right to do just that. If he’s to get back to his winning ways, he’ll need to shake off the control issues that have plagued his last few starts.

Going for the Twins is rookie Joe Ryan, who made his MLB debut against the Cubs earlier this month and is now making his fourth start. Ryan has shown excellent command, walking just two batters in 17 innings, and he’s only allowed one run in two starts against Cleveland after giving up three to the Cubs.

A throwback pitcher who goes with the fastball about 65% of the time despite throwing only 92 mph, Ryan locates well to set up his secondaries. His slider makes up about 15% of his pitches and the change is at roughly 12% and both have been very good. His curve is used sparingly but still yields positive results.

Ryan is holding lefties to an .094 batting average with a .146 wOBA while righties are at .154 and .211 so far. That comes largely from his one-hit effort in Cleveland, the only time he’s pitched on the road so far in very limited action. He’s gotten very good outcomes for a guy who gets a lot of contact in the air, but could see things turn around in a hurry if he hangs a few pitches.

It’s going to be cool and windy at Wrigley tonight, so it may just depend on which direction the wind is blowing. First pitch is set for 6:40pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.

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