Chicago Cubs Lineup (5/28/24): Tauchman in RF, Suzuki DH, Brown on Bump

There could not have been a better time for me to get away for a few days at a place with no television. I could have pulled up Marquee, ESPN, or the radio feed on my phone, but why interrupt what was otherwise a great holiday weekend on a lake? The Cubs have been straight-up awful lately and the only reprieve was a rainout in St. Louis.

Hey, they at least broke their six-game homerless streak when Ian Happ went yard twice on Sunday. Is it just me or does he seem to snap out of funks right when it seems as though the fans who ride him the hardest are almost starting to sound reasonable? Maybe he can get some of his teammates to do the same because pretty much the entire lineup has sucked out loud for the last two weeks or more.

Ben Brown has been very good of late, with just one run allowed across 11.2 innings in his last four appearances. The most recent of those was a four-inning start and he’ll be looking to push beyond that tonight. He still hasn’t done much with the changeup he talked about incorporating during spring training, but perhaps we’ll see a few tonight.

Based on how they’ve been hitting, the Cubs may need Brown to hold the Brewers to -2 runs tonight. Mike Tauchman continues to be one of the most consistent hitters on the team and he leads off in right. Seiya Suzuki is in left, Cody Bellinger is in center, Christopher Morel is at third, and Happ is in left. Nico Hoerner is at second, Michael Busch is at first, Dansby Swanson is the shortstop, and Miguel Amaya is the catcher.

They’re facing Freddy Peralta for the second time this month after beating him at Wrigley just over three weeks ago. He managed only five strikeouts over five innings to tie a season low, though he had a 50% grounder rate and didn’t give up a homer. Peralta went into that game with a .229 BABIP against and has since seen it rise to .279, indicating he’s still due for additional correction.

At the same time, improvements in his barrel rate and hard-hit percentage tell us he’s settling into sustainable results. Peralta’s weakness is the 95 mph fastball that often leaks into the belt-high nitro zone when he doesn’t pound it on the arm-side edge. His strategy is to get ahead early and leverage the slider that grades out as one of the best in baseball, so the Cubs may want to be aggressive early in counts against a guy whose 7.8% walk rate is the lowest of his career.

Peralta’s changeup is a very firm offering that sits around 89 mph and falls out of the bottom of the zone, then he’s got a curveball at about 79 that can be a little spotty in terms of location. Still, it’s been a good pitch for him. Even though his fastball makes up over half of his pitches, it’s really just a setup for those three secondaries that can all get outs.

What had been huge reverse splits are evening out a little more, though Peralta has still been much tougher on left-handed batters. The home/road results are pretty similar, though pitching far more often in other ballparks this season means six of the seven homers he’s given up have been on the road. Maybe the Cubs can further that disparity tonight.

First pitch is at 6:40pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.

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