The Cubs have been outscored 19-2 in the first two games of their series in Pittsburgh, which experts tell me is not ideal. They can still come away with a split if they’re able to win tonight and Thursday, but the Pirates have looked like a much better, hungrier team.
Christopher Morel is getting a break from what has become his everyday role, so Rafael Ortega leads off in center for this one. Willson Contreras bats second as the DH, Patrick Wisdom is bats and plays third, and Ian Happ is in left. Yan Gomes is the catcher, Jonathan Villar is at second, Nico Hoerner is at short, and Jason Heyward is in right. Alfonso Rivas bats last at first.
Keegan Thompson is on the mound looking to regain a little momentum after an excellent outing against the Braves. His two starts prior to that both went really poorly, so it was good to see him rebound so well against a very hot team. Thompson has not allowed a run to the Pirates over nine innings in two previous appearances this season and he’s struck out nine with one walk.
Going for the home team is 31-year-old Jerad Eickhoff, who is making his first MLB appearance since last year with the Mets. After looking really good in his first two seasons with the Phillies, the righty has fallen off badly and hasn’t been able to get batters out on a consistent basis.
His 90 mph fastball has been hit hard and his slider, which he throws almost 30% of the time, isn’t fooling hitters. Eickhoff has very pronounced platoon splits and has shown very poor control over the last few seasons, but that doesn’t mean he can’t put everything back together against a team that can’t seem to score runs lately.
First pitch is at 6:05pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 22, 2022