Albert Almora Jr. leads off in center, Javy Baez bats and plays second, Anthony Rizzo bats third, and Kris Bryant cleans up in left field. David Bote is at third, Ben Zobrist is in right, Willson Contreras is catching, and Addison Russell bats last at short.
Mike Montgomery showed a little rust from his DL stint when he took the mound in Atlanta, but he also displayed his highest whiff rate of the season and was really attacking hitters. He’ll need to be on his game tonight in Milwaukee to even the series, something we’ve seen him do once already.
Monty shut the Brewers down over six innings back on June 13, his fourth start of the season. He gave up only two hits, one of which was a solo homer for his only run allowed, and struck out four against one walk. Keeping the walks down will be key, as will keeping the ball down in general. Inducing some grounders and establishing a rhythm early can help the Cubs jump in front out of the gate.
They’ll be trying to do that against Wade Miley, who has been excellent since missing over two months with an oblique strain early in the season. He isn’t going to miss a lot of bats and he doesn’t have the greatest control, but he keeps the ball on the ground and in the park. Miley has only allowed three homers in 57.2 innings, so this shouldn’t be a slugfest.
The cutter is his go-to pitch and he’ll bust righties inside with it while keeping it away from lefties. The southpaw has really upped his usage of this pitch here in 2018, going to it nearly 40 percent of the time. The four-seam, curve, and change are all around 15 percent while the sinker and slider make up the rest.
Lefties will see the four-seam more frequently on the first pitch, righties will get a lot of sinkers. The cutter takes over from there, but Miley is pretty comfortable throwing just about any of his offerings in any count to any hitter. Perhaps due to the changes in his repertoire, he’s actually a reverse-split guy this season after having a pretty distinct platoon split for his career.
The disparity is even greater at home, where lefty batters boast a .389/.476/.444 slash with a .410 wOBA against Miley this season. Of course, we’re only talking about 21 batters, so you can’t put much stock in those numbers. Because the Cubs aren’t likely to mash their way to a win in this one, they’re going to need to remain patient and string a few hits together.
First pitch from Milwaukee is at 7:10pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago and 670 The Score.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 4, 2018