Chicago Cubs Lineup (6/16/24): Tauchman Leads Off, Morel at 3B, Taillon Starting

The Cubs didn’t just win yesterday, they did so in almost wholly undramatic fashion. Another of those sure would be nice, especially since I may end up dozing off this afternoon. My plan is to get back on these game previews in earnest next week, which may be difficult because we’ll be in Chicagoland for a baseball tournament starting Thursday, but this one will be brief because we just got back from another tourney.

While the results weren’t what we wanted, it was cool to see my son open bracket play with a complete-game shutout on 63 pitches. They only play seven innings at this level, by the way. Having it happen just after the Cubs got a much-needed win was that much cooler.

Jameson Taillon had been mired in a rough patch of five starts prior to his last out against the Rays in which he went six scoreless innings with five strikeouts and a walk. He wasn’t very sharp against the Cards back in late May, surrendering nine hits and allowing three earned runs over 5.2 innings. Anything in between those efforts should be enough to keep his team in the game.

Mike Tauchman leads this one off in right, followed by Christopher Morel at third and Cody Bellinger in center. Seiya Suzuki is the DH, Ian Happ is in left, Nico Hoerner is at second, and Michael Busch is at first. Dansby Swanson handles short and Miguel Amaya is the catcher.

They’re facing Miles Mikolas, who was Taillon’s counterpart in that aforementioned game. The Lizard King gave up three runs of his own over six innings, striking out six one way or half a dozen the other with two walks and four hits allowed. He remains a very high-level strike-thrower, but he’s being punished ever more severely for it because his stuff isn’t as sharp.

The sinker is still really good, however, and he’ll work both sides of the plate for weak contact. That pitch makes up nearly a quarter of his throws, just slightly less than his slider usage and almost identical to the four-seam. Mikolas’s problem is that his slide-piece is ass and his fastball ends up middle-middle far too often. His knuckle-curve is okay and his changeup isn’t awful, but both can be touched up when they don’t get down enough.

Though his platoon splits are pretty even, the Cubs have an advantage on paper when it comes to the home/road numbers. Mikolas is not nearly as good when he gets away from St. Louis, with 24 or more additional points across each set of his allowed slash line. I’ve got a good feeling about the Cubs really busting out in this one.

First pitch is at 12:05pm CT on 670 The Score with a free national broadcast offered by the Roku Channel.

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