The Cubs rediscovered the longball last night, with David Bote hitting a tank and Javy Báez banging a pair of homers to get things feeling a little more normal again. They’ll be looking to do more of the same against a guy who hasn’t given up a home run this season and has the benefit of a cavernous park.
Ian Happ will again lead off in center, followed by Anthony Rizzo at first and Javy Báez at short. Kyle Schwarber is in left, Willson Contreras is behind the plate, Jason Heyward is in right, and Victor Caratini is the DH. David Bote is at third and Jason Kipnis rounds out the order at second base.
Tyler Chatwood is on the mound for the first time since being shelled back on August 6, but he’s fresh off the IL and it’s hard to say how long he’ll be able to go. That’s why the Cubs will have José Quintana in the wings for what could amount to a piggyback start in the right situation.
The Tigers pitcher mentioned earlier is 27-year-old righty Spencer Turnbull, a 2014 second-round pick who debuted briefly in 2018 and made 30 starts for Detroit last season. His 3.65 ERA and 3.50 FIP say he’s been pretty good this season, but that’s because the lack of homers makes up for an unsightly 5.65 BB/9 mark.
Turnbull has walked four batters in three of his five starts and has allowed 19 hits with very little weak contact, so his results feel like a mirage. Three of his starts have come on the road, though, so it’s not like Comerica is really helping him out. Even more indicative of impending correction are his aberrant splits, which show a stark reversal from his career numbers.
Left-handed batters have just a .269 wOBA this season after posting a .347 last season, while righties are at .334 after a .308 in 2019. Something’s got to give here, so maybe the Cubs can jump on a few fastballs and catch a hanging slider or three. Turnbull’s got a very firm heater/sinker combo, sitting mid-90’s on both, and his breaking is solid as well.
He’s gotten away from the curveball almost entirely in favor of throwing more changeups, though neither generates good results. As the walks should indicate, he doesn’t work in the zone very often and doesn’t even get a lot of strikeouts. This is a matchup the Cubs should be able to exploit all night long, which of course means Turnbull will probably show up with the best stuff of his life.
First pitch is at 6:10pm CT on Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score.
Tyler Chatwood returns to the mound tonight against the Tigers! pic.twitter.com/vj9RJrLCJW
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 25, 2020