Chicago Cubs Lineup (6/21/24): Hoerner Leads Off, Bote at 3B, Imanaga Starting

The Cubs are coming off of just their second series win in well over a month, but they’re facing a Mets team that recently completed a seven-game win streak thanks to Grimace throwing out the first pitch. At the risk of placing too much importance on these games, Pat Hughes might say that you feel like this could be a turning point. Ron Coomer would certainly agree.

Both teams are three games shy of the .500 mark and just one game out of the Wild Card, so a sweep in either direction makes everything look a lot better. And with the Cubs heading out on the road for four in San Francisco and three in Milwaukee next week, momentum could have a lot to say about how they handle their business.

There’s no better way to kick off the first weekend of summer than by putting Shōta Imanaga on the bump and letting him shove. He won’t be the only staff ace trying to get a win in the Chicagoland area, as a kid I know pretty well is going to be pitching at Providence Catholic later in the afternoon. Slightly different levels of competition, but I’m stoked for both.

Outside of his two starts following that long layoff a few weeks back, Imanaga hasn’t required much help from his offense. That said, it would be best not to test that today. Nico Hoerner is leading off at second base, followed by Seiya Suzuki in right and Cody Bellinger in center. Christopher Morel is the DH, Ian Happ is in left, Patrick Wisdom is at first, and Dansby Swanson is at short. David Bote takes the hot corner and Miguel Amaya is behind the dish.

They’re up against a familiar face in José Quintana, who appears to be tailing off after a pair of unexpectedly strong seasons. The lefty is still getting grounders at a decent rate, but his strikeout percentage is way down and his hard-hit rate is up as his sinker and four-seam fail to generate much value. His breaking stuff is likewise subpar, but the changeup has been solid as it stays arm-side with good downward movement.

The platoon splits are pretty even against Quintana, though they get there by different means. Righties carry a higher average and OBP, lefties slug much better. There’s serious variation in his home/road numbers, however, as Quintana has been terrible away from Citi Field. Opposing hitters have tagged him for a .301/.368/.434 slash when he’s a visitor, though only three of the 12 homers he’s allowed have come on the road.

Perhaps the Cubs can shift that trend a bit on what promises to be a very hot afternoon at Wrigley. First pitch is at 1:20pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.

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