Chicago Cubs Lineup (5/11/24): Tauchman Leads Off, Suzuki Returns, Steele Facing Skenes

After facing one rookie righty with an upper-90s fastball and wipeout slider, the Cubs get another one this afternoon. They looked great in the series opener, coming back from an early deficit to build a big enough lead to make fans feel comfortable. More of that tonight would be nice, but it won’t be easy.

Justin Steele looked about as good as anyone could have hoped for, and maybe even a little better, in his first start off the IL back on Monday. He only struck out two batters but held the Padres scoreless on three hits and a walk over nearly five innings. Whiffs may be a little easier to come by against a Pirates team that is fifth-worst in MLB with a 25.6% strikeout rate against lefties this season.

Though he pitched well enough to get a win, all Steele could do was help the Cubs tread water against Yu Darvish. The home team couldn’t get anything going offensively and the game was over once San Diego hung a six-spot in the 6th inning. That’s been a bit of a trend over the last two weeks, with the bats only coming alive late if they wake up at all.

The offense was working last night, though, and now there’s a little more help and a new-look lineup. Mike Tauchman leads off at DH, followed by Seiya Suzuki in his first start back from the IL. Cody Bellinger is in center for the first time since returning, Christopher Morel is at third, Ian Happ is in left, and Nico Hoerner is at short. Michael Busch handles first base, Miles Mastrobuoni is at second, and Yan Gomes is the catcher.

Hits may be at a premium with uber-prospect Paul Skenes on the mound for his MLB debut. Less than 24 hours after facing Jared Jones, the Cubs are up against a much bigger dude who throws even harder and has dominated at each stop. He’s also dating Insta-famous LSU gymnast Livvy Dunne, who will likely end up getting the Taylor Swift treatment on the TV broadcast.

You don’t need much of a book on Skenes, whose fastball gets up to 102 mph and may have some extra giddyup due to adrenaline. He’s also got a filthy slider that was the best among college pitchers last year and has baffled professional hitters so far. He struck out 45 of the 105 batters he faced at Triple-A and walked only eight over seven unnecessary starts.

What’s more, or less as the case may be, Skenes got grounders at a 51% rate and gave up only one homer. There’s a hope that you’ll cash in on a miss against pitchers like this every once in a while, but Skenes has such an elite combination of velocity and movement that his margin for error is far greater than most other pitchers. This one should be fun to watch regardless, I’m just afraid this dude is going to take the league by storm right out of the gate.

First pitch is at 3:05pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.

Back to top button