Chicago Cubs Lineup (6/15/21): Pederson Leads Off, Bryant at 3B, Mills Makes Second Start

Joc Pederson leads off in left, Kris Bryant is at third, Javier Báez is at short, and Anthony Rizzo is at first as the Cubs look to even the series in Queens. Willson Contreras bats fifth at catcher, Ian Happ is in center, Jason Heyward is in right, and Sergio Alcántara plays second.

Alec Mills has had a rough go of it across 13 appearances so far, but he’s looking to right the ship in his second start of the season. The righty’s 6.08 ERA is higher than his peripherals suggest and he’s hurt himself by getting fewer strikeouts and issuing more walks than usual. His grounder rate is at a career-high 55.1% though, so perhaps his luck is about to change.

Going for the Mets is Taijuan Walker, who was all sorts of wild in his previous outing against the Cubs this season. The 28-year-old righty walked six over just 3.2 innings and surrendered three runs despite allowing just two hits. He’s finished the 7th inning four times in eight subsequent starts, so his efficiency has improved a bit in the meantime.

Walker’s 2.07 ERA may be a bit of a mirage because he’s only allowed two homers on the year despite a pedestrian groundball rate and a hard-hit rate that is higher than all but one of his six previous seasons. He loves his fastball (31%), sinker (25%), and slider (21%), all of which have been very effective pitches for him. His splitter has also been good and he’s throwing it harder than ever at nearly 90 mph.

Finally, there’s the curve that makes up just 9% of his total offerings but still scores as a positive pitch. This guy is really good and it’s going to take a very strong effort from the Cubs to get over on him.

First pitch is set for 7:10pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.

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