Okay, the Cubs won a game on Sunday. And they won a game yesterday. That’s two-in-a-row. If they win again today, it’s called a “winning streak.” It *has* happened before.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
1. Ian Happ, CF
2. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
3. Javy Baez, SS
4. Kyle Schwarber, LF
5. Willson Contreras, C
6. Jason Heyward, RF
7. Victor Caratini, DH
8. David Bote, 3B
9. Jason Kipnis, 2B
Right-hander Spencer Turnbull, 27, is on the mound for the Tigers tonight, making just the 39th start of his big league career. And so far, 2020 has been pretty good to him in the results department: 3.65 ERA. However, a quick peak behind the curtain reveals a sub-20% strikeout rate, an elevated 14.1% walk rate and one of the top-10 highest average exit velocities in MLB (91.2 MPH).
Despite all the free passes, lack of strikeouts, and tons of hard contact, Turnbull has gotten by largely on the strength of a great ground ball rate (52.2%) and relatively low launch angle (8.2 degrees). So look for the Cubs to elevate tonight, because if they do, they should be just fine. By contrast, be prepared for some double-plays (lots of walks and lots of ground balls carries that tendency).
For his career, lefties have hit Turnbull better than righties, though not by much, and this season, he’s actually carrying reverse splits through his first five starts. That could have to do with an increased reliance on his changeup (10.4% this year, 2.9% last season) and far fewer curveballs (4.0% this year, 12.1% last season), but it’s also possible we’ll see some natural regression anyway as the season goes on.
As for tonight, Turnbull will face four lefties, two switch-hitters, and three righties. It’s the very familiar lineup once again.
As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ post closer to game time (6:10 CT).