Chicago Cubs Lineup (6/7/24): Wisdom Leads Off, Bote at 2B, Steele Starting

Welp, the Cubs were back at it last night, jumping ahead twice with a pair of two-run shots and doing little else as the bullpen failed to keep the Reds at bay. Is that distilling it a little too much? Probably, but the end result is the same even without nuance. The fact of the matter is that they simply aren’t very consistent.

That goes for Justin Steele as well. The lefty was victimized by bad defense when he faced the Reds in the Cubs’ lone win of their series at Wrigley, though he put himself in a very poor spot. After striking out the first four batters he faced, Steele gave up a single, walked a batter, and then hit one to load the bases. Seiya Suzuki biffed an easy catch that should have ended the inning, after which Steele gave up another RBI single.

The Reds generated a lot of contact and Steele walked a season-high four batters over five innings. He gets a little grace due to the soggy conditions, but he has very little room for mistakes if the Cubs are to get something going again.

Patrick Wisdom will try to get things started as the leadoff hitter and third baseman. Suzuki is in right, Cody Bellinger is in center, Chris Morel is the DH, and Ian Happ is in left. Dansby Swanson is at short, David Bote is at second, Michael Busch is at first, and Miguel Amaya is the catcher.

They’re facing Nick Lodolo again after losing to him last Sunday. The big lefty features a 94 mph fastball with a lot of cut, though he can get into trouble when he hangs it. That wasn’t the case in the previous matchup, as the heater worked pretty well. The Cubs managed to rack up seven hits in large part due to Lodolo having issues with his slurve.

It’s either a slider or a curve depending on which service you prefer, and the low-80s offering gets lots of whiffs and called strikes. That wasn’t the case a few days ago as he got only three strikeouts for the second start in a row, so the Cubs could be in for a rough evening if Lodolo is sharp. He also throws a firm change that stays arm-side and up in the zone, but it hasn’t been very effective on the whole despite providing a different look.

The change worked really well against this group, however, something Lodolo and the Reds either planned ahead of time or realized as the game went on. He threw the pitch a season-high 21 times, all to righties, and gave up just a single out of seven batted-ball events. Using that to keep opponents off-balance will really make his fastball and breaking ball play up.

I don’t like anything about this matchup on paper, but Lodolo has been much worse at home this season. He has limited batters to a .218 wOBA when he’s a visitor and .320 when he’s the host, with righties tagging him for a .342 mark. Lefties have been terrible in either circumstance, though Bellinger collected a pair of singles against Lodolo in that last outing.

First pitch from Cincy is once again at 6:10pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.

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