The Cubs picked up another win last night behind a stellar debut from Jordan Wicks and enough offense to overcome the bullpen’s struggles. Now they’ve got a chance to take the series in Pittsburgh and build a little more momentum heading into three games against the Brewers.
Javier Assad hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in a game since being inserted into the rotation in place of Marcus Stroman, and he’s pitched at least 5.1 innings in each of his last three starts. He’s not overpowering by any stretch, but he stays calm and doesn’t beat himself out there on the mound. More of the same this afternoon will put the Cubs in a good spot to take home another win.
David Ross has his lefty-beating lineup for this one, starting with Nico Hoerner at second and Dansby Swanson at short. Ian Happ is in left, Cody Bellinger rests his legs as the DH, Seiya Suzuki is in right, and Yan Gomes is the catcher. Jeimer Candelario plays third, Patrick Wisdom is at first, and Mike Tauchman serves as the ninth hitter in center.
They’re up against Bailey Falter, a southpaw who we’d like to hope will live up to his surname in this one. He spent most of his career in the Phillies organization and was just acquired by the Pirates at the deadline in the Rodolfo Castro deal. He’s worked almost exclusively as a starter, with his two non-starts this season coming as the bulk man behind an opener.
Falter’s 91 mph fastball plays way up because he gets more extension than just about anyone else in MLB, though he tends to leave it middle-in to right-handed hitters and middle-out to lefties. His main secondary pitch is a curveball that has also been tagged quite often when he hangs it, then he’s got a slider, change, and sinker. None of those offerings have performed very well at the MLB level this season, though he’s capable of finding lightning in a bottle.
It’s more like the Cubs will light Falter up, as he’s allowed 71 hits in less than 60 innings, and 11 of those have left the yard. Interestingly enough, lefty batters have absolutely crushed him so far. Even though opposing managers have gone with handedness matchups, lefties carry a .404/.429/.723 slash into this game. Those numbers are even worse when Falter pitches at PNC, though the sample is small.
This is another of those games in which the Cubs have no excuse for failing to hang crooked numbers, so let’s hope they jump on the starter and run away with it. First pitch is at 12:35pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.
Here is today's #Cubs starting lineup for the series finale vs. Pittsburgh!
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 27, 2023