Chicago Cubs Lineup (8/23/20): Happ Leads, Hoerner at 3B, Darvish Tried to Avoid HR Barrage

The Cubs have collected a total of 13 hits in the last two games while the White Sox have hit 11 home runs. It’s been demoralizing and embarrassing, at least from a fan’s perspective, and it makes me not even want to put in more than half an effort on this game preview.

Ian Happ is leading off in center, followed by Javy Báez at short, Anthony Rizzo at first, and Kyle Schwarber in left. Willson Contreras mans the DH spot, Jason Heyward is in right, and Victor Caratini catches. Nico Hoerner at third and Jason Kipnis at second round out the order.

Yu Darvish has only given up one home run in five starts this season, but even limiting the Sox to three dingers would represent a moral victory. If there’s a sign of hope, it’s that the South Side Hit Men strike out a lot when they’re not making loud contact. Perhaps Darvish can miss enough bats to keep his team in this one.

Facing the Cubs is Dylan Cease, who you’ll be reminded more than once today was traded for José Quintana. Oh, did you know Eloy Jiménez was part of that deal too? The hard-throwing Cease averages nearly 98 mph on a fastball he deploys about half the time, setting it off with a slider and the occasional change and curve.

Cease hasn’t registered many strikeouts for a power pitcher, notching just 5.96 K/9 so far on the season. That could change against a Cubs team that seems all too willing to wave at pitches like they’re in a parade. Except for Schwarber, who remains immune to two-strike swings. But hey, maybe they’ll be tuned up for a hard thrower after all the junk that’s come their way over the last week or so.

I typically enjoy digging into opposing pitchers for these posts, but I’m serious when I say I’m just not into this today. The Cubs have been playing like hot garbage and the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 is taking place today, so my heart just isn’t in it. This team needs to show some fight here soon.

First pitch is at 1:20pm CT on Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score, or you can catch the visitors’ broadcasts on NBC Sports Chicago and WGN 720. I actually found myself flipping over to Jason Benetti and Stone Pony the other day when Marquee’s audio developed a nauseating echo.

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