Matt Duffy will play third base and lead off with a lefty on the mound, followed by Frank Schwindel at first, Ian Happ in center, and Patrick Wisdom in left. Robinson Chirinos handles the catching duties, Alfonso Rivas is in right, David Bote is at second, and Sergio Alcántara is the shortstop.
Alec Mills has alternated good and bad starts over the last month, with an outstanding effort against the Reds following an egg against the Pirates. Putting up one of his more solid performances could mean a series win against a team clinging to playoff aspirations.
The Phillies will counter with Ranger Suárez, a 26-year-old lefty who is making his ninth start and 36th appearance on the season. Suárez was dominant in a relief role, putting up a 1.12 ERA with 42 strikeouts and 14 walks over 40.1 innings before being moved to the rotation. After taking some time to stretch out, he’s been nearly as stifling while completing at least five innings in each of his last four starts.
He will lean heavily on the sinker, throwing it about 45% of the time to get tons of grounders and prevent big innings. The change and fastball make up roughly a quarter of his pitches apiece, then the slider — which is way down from previous seasons — fills in the rest. The sinker would make The Dude proud because it’s a bowling ball that really ties the whole repertoire together.
All of Suárez’s offerings have been good this year, though, so he can beat teams with just about any of them. He’s particularly dominant against left-handed hitters, holding them to a slash line of .098/.187/.122 thus far. Right-handed batters fare much better, but .219/.307/.302 isn’t really anything to write home about.
The stuff may not seem overwhelmingly good because you’re just talking about a 93 mph heater and a sinker, plus the change, but Suárez has been frustrating hitters all year. He has only allowed multiple runs in an outing twice all year and only one of those was a start. With just three runs surrendered in his last 23 innings, this could be a tough one.
First pitch is at 6:05pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 15, 2021