If the Cubs do not win their game tonight, they could very well wind up ceding first place in the NL Central to the Milwaukee Brewers. Here’s who’s standing on the front lines in defense of that outcome.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Daniel Murphy, 2B
- Javy Baez, SS
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Jason Heyward, CF
- Ian Happ, RF
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Victor Caratini, C
- Jose Quintana, P
- David Bote, 3B
The righty Ivan Nova is starting for the Pirates tonight and he’s been way tougher on righties (.303 wOBA) than lefties (.345 wOBA) this season, which helps explain the lineup a little bit – especially the decision to roll with Victor Caratini over Willson Contreras, despite the latter’s history against Nova:
The Cubs, who are struggling offensively will face Pirates starter Ivan Nova tonight. Here are the best Cubs hitters against Nova for their career: Willson Contreras .455, Anthony Rizzo .385, Daniel Murphy .357 and Jason Heyward .316.
— David Kaplan (@thekapman) September 26, 2018
Elsewhere, David Bote takes over for the injured Kris Bryant (wrist) at third and slides back into the ninth spot in the order, after the pitcher briefly occupied that spot for the Cubs yesterday. Jason Heyward is out in center and batting cleanup, Ian Happ covers right field, and Kyle Schwarber is in left.
Speaking of which, I’m pretty surprised to see Schwarber bat behind Happ tonight, but 1) that really doesn’t make a huge difference, and 2) how many times can we be surprised by things Joe Maddon does with his lineups. At a certain point it’s like that’s just who he is. Get used to it. Daniel Murphy is leading off and Javy Baez bats second.
The Cubs really, really, really need a win tonight. Let’s see if they can pull it off. As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ closer to game time (7:05 CT).