It’s raining a whole lot in Cincinnati right now, and that’s expected to continue throughout the night. So we’ll see if the Cubs and Reds can find a way to sneak this one in, but I’m not optimistic. If it does get going, however, here’s the lineup David Ross has chosen for the final game of the four-game series.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
1. Kris Bryant, 3B
2. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
3. Javy Baez, SS
4. Kyle Schwarber, LF
5. Willson Contreras, DH
6. Jason Heyward, RF
7. Victor Caratini, C
8. Nico Hoerner, 2B
9. Ian Happ, CF
Luis Castillo is standing on the mound opposite the Cubs tonight, coming off a really good 2020 debut against the Tigers, during which he allowed just 1 earned run on 6 hits and 1 walk against 11 strikeouts in six innings. As for lefties/righties, he has carried traditional splits throughout his career, though he’s pretty good against everybody. With that said, righties have had a particularly tough time elevating against Castillo (56.8% ground ball rate), so look to the lefties for the power tonight (there are five of them including the switch-hitters).
As for the order, itself, the only notable change is Nico Hoerner moving to the 8th spot and Ian Happ back down to 9th. This helps break up back-to-back righties of Hoerner and Bryant when the lineup turns over, and also prevents two switch hitters from following a lefty. In other words, with a three-batter minimum, the Reds won’t be so quick to go to a righty later in the game and earlier on, Castillo won’t get to face three lefties in a row, which could help throw him off at the margins.
As expected, Victor Caratini is behind the plate to catch Yu Darvish as Willson Contreras slides into the DH role. And that, by the way, is the beauty of the universal DH for the Cubs. On any given night, Chicago gets to keep their sweet swinging catcher, Contreras, in the lineup, even when Darvish is rolling with a personal catcher. And seeing as how Caratini is a solid, switch-hitting force himself, I’d say this works out pretty nicely for the Cubs.
As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ post closer to game time (5:10), but remember … rain.