Chicago Cubs Lineup (4/8/21): Contreras Leads Off, Marisnick in CF, Arrieta Pitching in Pittsburgh

Willson Contreras will bat leadoff this afternoon as Ian Happ gets the day off. Kris Bryant bats second at third, Anthony Rizzo bats third at first, and Javy Báez cleans up at short. That’s a bit of a risk given how lost he’s looked at the plate, but it’s not like a team with an aggregate .124 average has many better options.

Joc Pederson got his first hit of the season yesterday, a homer that earned him a new waffle maker, and he’ll play left in this one. Jake Marisnick is in center, Jason Heyward is in right, and David Bote is at second.

Jake Arrieta is on the mound in Pittsburgh for the 25th time in his career, making it by far his most frequent home away from home. The righty has dominated the Pirates at PNC over the years, posting a 13-6 record with a 2.87 ERA, 0.998 WHIP, and 141 strikeouts to just 38 walks. This is a different Arrieta from the elite starter we saw from 2014-17, but we’re also talking about a Pirates lineup that can’t come close to those from that same earlier period.

Arrieta went six innings against this squad in the second game of the season, limiting the Bucs to one run on six hits and a walk while striking out five. There’s no reason to believe he can’t repeat that feat, though it’d sure be nice if the offense made sure he didn’t have to.

This is a rematch of Game 2, which means Tyler Anderson is on the bump for the Pirates. He was solid, allowing three runs over five innings and striking out seven with two walks. Anderson threw his cutter a lot in that early effort, more than either his four-seam or change, so watch for that to see if it’s a trend that will continue. It’s possible that was a matter of scouting and/or that he’s setting the Cubs up for something different in this one.

First pitch from PNC is set for 12:35pm CT on Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score.

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