Chicago Cubs Lineup (7/10/24): Hoerner Leads Off, PCA in CF, Imanaga Starting

The Cubs put together a blowout win last night with contributions from nearly everyone in the lineup other than the shortstop, keeping them in line for a shot at getting back to .500 by the break. They’ll need to get a few more folks to take some of the load off Michael Busch and Ian Happ, but those two have some games on their own over the last month. Can they push to three in a row tonight?

Shota Imanaga is on the bump to face the young Orioles and he should be fine as long as he keeps the ball up in the zone. Spotting him a few runs should help him to settle in early, so perhaps Nico Hoerner can start picking up the pace as the leadoff hitter. Busch bats second at first base, Cody Bellinger is in right, Seiya Suzuki is the DH, and Happ is in left. Christopher Morel is at third, Dansby Swanson is at short, Pete Crow-Armstrong patrols center, and Miguel Amaya is behind the plate.

They’re up against a familiar foe in righty Corbin Burnes, who Craig Counsell also knows very well from their time together in Milwaukee. The worst part about this is how trading Burnes for a light return looked like a sign that the Brewers were ready to tank. Instead, the Brewers are running away with the NL Central and Burnes is anchoring the staff in Baltimore.

The burly righty is still one of the best pitchers in baseball and his Baseball Savant page is redder than any I’ve seen while doing these previews. He leads with a 95 mph cutter that hammers the glove-side half of the plate, sawing off left-handed batters and making him a reverse-split pitcher. Even though his strikeout numbers are way down this season, he’s walking fewer batters and getting more grounders than usual.

Burnes is great at avoiding hard contact because he pounds the zone with pitches that are very difficult to square up due to both movement and location. He works the edges like a finesse guy even though he’s got above-average velocity with nearly every offering. This is a very tough matchup for the Cubs and they may just have to hang around until Burnes exits.

First pitch is at 5:35pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.

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