This is a rematch of 10 days ago, as Drew Smyly will face off against former Cubs legend José Quintana in a battle of southpaws on the North Side. In what may have been the most baffling development for Q since people gathered in Dealey Plaza awaiting JFK Jr.’s return, the Pirates lefty more or less dominated his old team for 5.1 innings.
A Seiya Suzuki solo shot represented the only real blemish, then another dinger from the best No. 27 on the planet later in the game ensured a slim victory. Quintana wasn’t as sharp his last time out against the Nationals, walking three in just four innings, and it’s reasonable to believe the Cubs can get over on him in this one. I’ll eschew additional scouting in this case since you should all have a pretty good idea of what Q does.
Well, okay, I will note that he’s been throwing his changeup a lot more. Like, a LOT more. After being his least-used pitch for the past several years, he’s been throwing it over 35% of the time this season as he dials back significantly on the fastball, sinker, and curve. The change is still very firm, coming in around 86 compared to his 91 mph heater, but the results haven’t been great.
The opposite is true for Drew Smyly, who has been incredible so far through two starts in which he hasn’t thrown any changeups. He has ramped up his cutter usage and is locating his curveball to great effect, keeping nearly everything in the zone and inducing more contact on the ground than in the past. Smyly bested the Pirates in his first start and can get the Cubs back in the win column if he does so again today.
It would help if the offense can put up more than two runs of support because, believe it or not, Smyly’s ERA won’t remain at 0.00 all season.
Nick Madrigal gets his shot to lead off and he’ll be playing second, then it’s Suzuki in right and Willson Contreras DH’ing. Frank Schwindel is at first, Patrick Wisdom is in left, and Jonathan Villar is at third. Yan Gomes is the catcher, Michael Hermosillo is in center, and Nico Hoerner bats ninth as the shortstop.
First pitch from Wrigley is at 7:05pm CT — rescheduled from the traditional 1:20 start due to rain in the forecast — on Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 22, 2022