Chicago Cubs Lineup (9/24/23): Morel Leads Off, Canario CF, Wicks Starting Final Home Game

The Cubs have a chance to complete a sweep of the Rockies on what will be their last home game of the regular season, so you know the Wrigley crowd is going to be lively this afternoon. A win could push them back into the second Wild Card spot since the Diamondbacks’ game was rained out in New York. The Pirates managed a wild comeback with 12 runs in innings 6-8 to beat the Reds, but the Brewers couldn’t take care of business against the Marlins.

That means the Fish are still a game back, with the Redlegs falling 2.5 games behind. Sunday’s contest is huge in light of those standings and the potential difficulty of the next six games to finish the season. Time for Jordan Wicks to bounce back from a rocky start the last time out in which he took his first loss of the season. He had his best outing against this Colorado team in his previous start, allowing just one run on three hits, but a lack of run support meant he ended with a no-decision.

Runs have been coming at a better clip of late and that figures to be the case again today. Christopher Morel leads off as the DH, followed by Nico Hoerner at second and Ian Happ in left. Cody Bellinger is at first, Seiya Suzuki is in right, Dansby Swanson is the shortstop, and Yan Gomes is catching. Patrick Wisdom is at third and Alexander Canario gets his first start in center since hitting a grand slam the other day.

They’re facing 32-year-old lefty Ty Blach, who is making his 12th start out of 19 total appearances this season for the Rockies. He’s a prototypical AAAA guy who has bounced around since 2016 as teams need a fresh arm who can either start or work in long relief. His 5.32 ERA is better than his 5.52 FIP, his 13.6% strikeout rate is the fourth-lowest among 253 pitchers with at least 60 innings this season, and he’s given up 91 hits in less than 68 frames.

Blach somehow managed to hold the Cubs to just three runs on nine hits, none of which left the yard 11 days ago in Denver. That was the only one of his last five appearances and just the second time in second time in the last nine that he didn’t give up at least one homer. It was also one start in a active streak of four that has seen him give up at least eight hits.

The 235 right-handed batters who’ve faced Blach this season have a combined .349 average with a .924 OPS, so the Cubs should have no problem getting runners on. The question is whether they’ll be able to get them over and get them in. I’ll be in the bleachers for this one, so that’s all the analysis I’ve got time for. Just know this is one of the most favorable matchups the Cubs could have given the situation.

First pitch is at 1:20pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.

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