Chicago Cubs Lineup (5/119/24): Tauchman Leads Off, Still No Hoerner, Taillon Going for Split

First things first, I’d like to extend the happiest birthday wishes to my friend Meg, who may or may not have catfished a few poor souls by using free Cubs tickets as a lure. Just kidding, of course. Or am I? Cubs baseball has been anything but free to watch lately, even if yesterday’s result ended up being favorable. Losing the first two games to the Pirates before escaping by the slimmest possible margin on Saturday isn’t exactly in keeping with their plan to be contenders.

That can all change in a hurry, however, as they have a day off Monday, after which Dansby Swanson will return. Nico Hoerner has been out since the final game in Atlanta and there’s still no word about his status, but perhaps they’re just hoping to get an extra day of rest for him as well. Even if he’s back by Tuesday, playing shorthanded for five games feels pretty irresponsible.

It also feels like par for the course when we look back at lingering issues for Ben Zobrist, Jason Heyward, and even Daniel Descalso. Varying levels of impact there, to be sure, so it’s more about the general concept. Anyway, I’m already pretty late to the party on getting this lineup out and the grass isn’t going to mow itself. Here’s an abbreviated look at Sunday’s finale with the Cubs celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Mike Tauchman is in right, Seiya Suzuki is the DH, Cody Bellinger is in center, and Christopher Morel is at third. Ian Happ is in left, Michael Busch is at first, Nick Madrigal plays second, and Miles Mastrobuoni is at short with Miguel Amaya catching.

They’re up against righty Mitch Keller, who has settled into very consistent production after some pretty rough numbers in his first few seasons. None of those were full campaigns, so just getting the chance to be in the rotation every fifth day has helped him. Keller is just a solid mid-rotation guy who doesn’t really do anything super well or super poorly.

His 94 mph fastball is right around league average and winds up in the heart of the zone too often to be very good while his sinker stays over the plate as well. The sweeper and curve are both effective, in part because they work opposite sides of the plate, but they’re better at getting called strikes than whiffs.

Keller is efficient and can go deep as long as he limits his mistakes, which he’s done to a great degree this season. Though he’s allowed a homer in six of his nine starts, he’s only walked more than two batters twice. The Cubs should be able to produce plenty of contact, it’ll just be a matter of stringing hits together rather than leaving them scattered.

Easier said than done with this group.

Just for fun, let’s enjoy the Pirates’ announcers reacting to the play at the plate that ended yesterday’s game. The only way it could be any better is if it was the Cardinals.

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

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