Chicago Cubs Lineup (7/8/21): Pederson Leads Off, Wisdom at 3B, Chirinos Catching, Alzolay Goes for Series Split

The Cubs can go for a series split with the Phillies today, which would be a huge moral victory after dropping three of four in LA, then being swept in Milwaukee and Cincinnati. Joc Pederson will lead the effort in left, followed by Patrick Wisdom at third, Anthony Rizzo at first, and Jason Heyward…batting cleanup?

Robinson Chirinos handles the catching duties, Rafael Ortega is in center, Nico Hoerner is at second, and Sergio Alcántara is the shortstop. This is an interesting lineup as David Ross rests three regulars for one reason or another. Javier Báez was scratched yesterday with a recurring thumb issue, Kris Bryant left with a hamstring cramp, and Willson Contreras is getting a little rest.

Adbert Alzolay is on the mound coming off of a 7-inning outing in Cincy that saw him allow three runs on five hits as he struck out six with just one walk. It was a much better effort than either of his previous two after being activated from the IL with a blister. The Cubs may not need Alzolay to be perfect, but a return to the form he showed through May would be nice.

The Phillies will counter with Zach Eflin, who differs from last night’s starter in more than just the spelling of his first name. The 27-year-old has been decent over the past few seasons and he’s probably getting worse results than he deserves, but he’s also pretty limited when it comes to the effectiveness of his secondaries. A sinker-baller who throws the two-seam about 43% of the time, Eflin gets negative value from his breaking and offspeed pitches.

His splits aren’t pronounced and he’s been quite a bit worse on the road, so the Cubs may be able to take advantage of his tendency to throw strikes. As you might imagine from someone who really needs to hard stuff to be on, Eflin throws a ton of first-pitch strikes and gives hitters a lot to swing at. He has only walked 13 batters in 16 starts and hasn’t walked more than two in any game, so the Cubs need to go up there looking to tee off.

First pitch is at 7:05pm CT on Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score. As always, you can get a free trial of fuboTV if you’d like to test-drive the only streaming platform that actually has Marquee.

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