Chicago Cubs Lineup (10/3/22) – McKinstry at 3B, Contreras Rests, Wesneski Starting

The Cubs have won seven games in a row now, the last three of which have come against the Reds. They’re now 10-6 against Cincy and can really blow the season series open by continuing their winning ways. I know a lot of people believe these games are meaningless, but that’s not really the case when you get down to some of the specific players involved.

Like Hayden Wesneski, who is looking to end his season on a high note by winning his third consecutive start. He somehow got a no-decision in his best effort of the season, but the results he’s gotten are much more important than his record. The righty has allowed just four earned runs with 16 strikeouts and four walks over 18.1 innings as a starter, making a strong case to be part of an improved rotation next season.

The slider is his calling card and it’s really fun to watch Wesneski work when that breaking ball is on point. Like, immaculate inning fun. If he has the slider tonight, the Reds don’t stand much of a chance.

Of course, Cincy has its own exciting rookie in flamethrowing righty Hunter Greene. The big 23-year-old has an 80-grade fastball that sits 99 mph, backing it up with a firm slider that gets a lot of whiffs. His control has been spotty and that fastball goes a long way in the opposite direction when batters turn around mistakes, so the Cubs could jump on Greene if he slips.

That hasn’t been the case lately, however, as he has allowed just four runs with 43 strikeouts and seven walks over his last 29.1 innings. His fastball has averaged over 100 mph in two of his last five starts, so he doesn’t seem to be slowing down despite throwing more innings than ever before in his professional career.

The Cubs have scored a total of eight runs against Greene in two previous meetings this season and they’ve homered against him three times. Those big flies came from Nico Hoerner, Willson Contreras, and Ian Happ during a very forgettable 20-5 Cubs loss on May 26. That was a wild one in which everything was going the Reds’ way, but things should be different this time.

Zach McKinstry leads off at third, followed by Esteban Quiroz at second and the hot-hitting Seiya Suzuki in right. Happ is in left, Hoerner is at short, and Franmil Reyes is the DH. Alfonso Rivas is at first, Yan Gomes gives Contreras a day off behind the plate, and Christopher Morel is in center.

First pitch is at 5:40pm CT on Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score.

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