Chicago Cubs Lineup (4/29/23): Kilian Makes Season Debut

This will be another quick one because I’ll be at a baseball tourney all day, but I’ll try to get you the nitty gritty. The Cubs lost in walk-off fashion last night and the final score was more of a mercy than what it could have been given the way Michael Rucker pitched in the 9th. Those implosions will happen from time to time throughout the season, it’s a matter of how you bounce back from them.

In this case, that rebound will have to happen behind the 2023 debut of righty Caleb Kilian. After entering last season as the most hyped pitching prospect in the system, Kilian quickly fell to earth and has been trying to regain his composure ever since. Known primarily for his impeccable control, the righty’s walk numbers have jumped along with his stuff.

Kilian added some velo to his fastball and also incorporated a knuckle curve, so he’s been trying to figure some things out over the last year or so. Following an awful performance in which he gave up eight earned runs over just 2.1 innings, striking out one batter and allowing four home runs, he has allowed just one run over the last two starts.

He hasn’t missed many bats, so the defense will have to come to play in this one. The offense will have to do more than last night as well. Nico Hoerner leads off at second, Dansby Swanson is at short, Ian Happ is in left, and Seiya Suzuki is in right. Cody Bellinger is in center, Trey Mancini is at first, and Eric Hosmer is the DH. Patrick Wisdom will try to bust his slump as the third baseman, then it’s Tucker Barnhart batting last behind the plate.

The Marlins will send Edward Cabrera to the mound for the sixth time in the hopes that he’ll shake the Little League pitcher trend he’s followed. The 25-year-old righty has walked 20 batters in 22 innings, though he’s struck out 24 and gets grounders at a 57% clip. An ERA of 4.91 tells us his stuff might almost be too good for him to control.

Mostly a fastball/change/curve guy, Cabrera will touch upper 90s with the four-seam and has an incredibly firm offspeed offering that sits 93. The bender is his bread and butter, getting him a lot of swinging strikes. As you might imagine, called strikes aren’t a big weapon for him. Cabrera is also at just 51% with first-pitch strikes, so Cubs hitters will be ahead in the count regularly in this one.

First pitch is at 3:05pm CT on FOX and 670 The Score.

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