Chicago Cubs Lineup (3/15/24): Mastrobuoni Leads Off, Mervis at 1B, Wicks Starting

Jordan Wicks had the inside track to earning a spot in the rotation even before news that Jameson Taillon will likely miss at least his first start, so now it’s basically assured that the bespectacled southpaw will break camp with the big club. Wicks has been the team’s best spring starter so far, allowing just two earned runs on 12 hits with 10 strikeouts and one walk over 12.1 innings. This will be his fourth start overall and second against the White Sox, so he should be able to get into the 5th inning this afternoon.

Miles Mastrobuoni leads off at third, then it’s Dansby Swanson at short, Dominic Smith at DH, and Garrett Cooper in left. Matt Mervis is at first, Miguel Amaya is behind the plate, Alexander Canario is in center, and David Bote is at second. Brennen Davis rounds out the lineup in right.

They’re up against 29-year-old righty Chris Flexen, whose last name sounds like what opponents often did against him last year. Though the Cubs didn’t rough him up too badly, they scored five runs on 14 hits with four walks and just six strikeouts in two matchups with the Rockies. Right-handed batters put a 1.025 OPS against Flexen in 2023, and that wasn’t just the Coors effect because he began the season with the Mariners.

The big problem has been a fastball that arguably got the worst results in all of MLB. According to Baseball Savant, Flexen was in the 1st percentile for fastball run value with a -26 mark and finished in the 2nd percentile overall with a -28. When your four-seam is straight as a string at just 92 mph and you throw it 40% of the time, bad things are bound to happen.

He may have made some changes over the offseason, however, because he has not yet allowed a run over five spring innings. Not that we can really tell much from that. Might be time for water to find its level. First pitch from Camelback Ranch is at 3:05pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago and ESPN 1000. Marquee will air the Spring Breakout game between these same two organizations starting an hour later.

Back to top button