Chicago Cubs Lineup (5/26/21): Williams on Bump, Bryant 1B, Happ CF, Ortega LF, Hoerner to IL

The Chicago Cubs announced just moments ago that Nico Hoerner has been placed 10-day IL with a left hamstring strain. The Cubs have promoted OF Rafael Ortega and DFA’d Shelby Miller as part of the move. Ortega will start today for the Cubs.

Now to the lineup for today’s game.

Joc Pederson is once again leading off and playing right, Kris Bryant bats second playing first base, followed by Javier Báez at short, Ian Happ in center, and Willson Contreras at catcher. Ortega will bat sixth and play left, followed by David Bote at third, and Eric Sogard at second.

Trevor Williams gets another crack at his old team in his old home ballpark after the first matchup went very poorly. While he managed to pitch better against the Pirates at home earlier this month, that ugly game in April still stands out. The righty hasn’t recorded an out in the 6th inning since his first start of the season and he hasn’t made it through the 5th since April 27. That simply isn’t acceptable, even from a No. 5 starter, so he has to be better against a depleted Pirates team.

Going for the Bucs is second-year righty Wil Crowe, who will be facing the Cubs for the third time. The first of those was a brief relief appearance, but his start on May 8 saw him go six with five strikeouts and one walk as he allowed just two runs on four hits. That also happened to the be the “better” Williams start above, which the Cubs ended up winning 3-2.

Crowe hasn’t gotten great results otherwise, surrendering homers in three of his last four starts and grinding through a mix of pitches that have been underwhelming to this point. His fastball sits 94 mph, same with the sinker, and he’s got a firm change at 86 mph that has been his best pitch. He only throws that offspeed about 20% of the time, though, and he’s actually scaled it back since he moved to a starting role.

The slider is his preferred secondary and it’s actually been his worst pitch, so the Cubs are certainly hoping for a few cement mixers to back up on them. The effectiveness of the change and the poor quality of the slider mean Crowe is putting up serious reverse splits so far. Lefties are hitting just .184 with a .635 OPS while righties are at .305 and .871 with three of the four homers he has given up.

This is a game the Cubs should be able to walk away with, they just need Williams to keep it close early.

First pitch is set for 5:35pm CT on Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score. If you’re in-market and looking to get the game via streaming service, check out a free preview of fuboTV.

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