Chicago Cubs Lineup (5/18/24): Hoerner Still Sitting, Wisdom Leads Off, Imanaga Pitching

Sorry, folks, this is going to be another one where I pretty much punt on any kind of breakdown. The Cubs have dropped two straight to the Pirates, they’re facing a guy they just saw last week, and my son’s got a doubleheader this afternoon. Not a whole lot to talk about, unless you want to discuss how they’ve been mowed down by a pair of rookies who figure to be atop the NL Central’s pitching ranks for several years.

Shōta Imanaga has been a bright spot all season and he’s looking to keep his spotless record intact this afternoon against a team he hasn’t yet faced. The Pirates are 11th in MLB with a 110 wRC+ against lefties and they’re second with 18 homers, though a big portion of that has come against Justin Steele. In his last two starts, the Buccos have tagged him for five homers and have scored 11 runs. Yeesh.

Sometimes the best way to jumpstart a sluggish offense is to put a masher in the leadoff spot and hope he can get you on the board early. That’s the case with Patrick Wisdom leading off and playing first base in this one. Seiya Suzuki is in right, Cody Bellinger is in center, Christopher Morel is at third, and Mike Tauchman is the DH. Ian Happ is in left, Nick Madrigal is at second, and Miles Mastrobuoni is at short. Yan Gomes rounds things out as the catcher.

This is now the fourth game in a row Nico Hoerner has missed, making the IL look like even more of a likelihood. The Cubs have Monday off, however, so maybe they’re just hoping something improves by then. Dansby Swanson could have been activated today, but they’re targeting Tuesday for his return from a mild knee sprain. Even though he wasn’t hitting all that well and his glovework seemed borderline lackadaisical, having Madrigal and Mastrobuoni playing the middle infield on a regular basis is suboptimal.

The OPS marks for the bottom three in today’s order are .546, 432, and .494, just brutal stuff. Maybe they can figure something out this afternoon.

Bailey Falter got a no-decision last Sunday after tossing six innings of two-run ball. His BABIP remains insanely low at .205 after he managed to allow just five hits despite getting only one strikeout. I’m pretty shocked to see his swinging-strike rate is as high as 9.8% because he doesn’t put hitters away with any sort of regularity. Outside of an eight-K game against the Brewers, he hasn’t gotten more than five this season.

The Cubs will have chances against Falter and the Pirates in one, it’s just a matter of being able to cash them in. First pitch from Wrigley is at 1:20pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.

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