The Chicago Cubs are starting a new series tonight, featuring their final three games against the Cincinnati Reds for the season, and here’s how David Ross will line his guys up for Game 1.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
1. Ian Happ, CF
2. Kris Bryant, 3B
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
4. Javy Baez, SS
5. Kyle Schwarber, LF
6. Willson Contreras, C
7. Jason Kipnis, DH
8. David Bote, 2B
9. Cameron Maybin, RF
The Cubs have drawn the right-hander Tyler Mahle for the THIRD time this season, which should work to their advantage (the more times you see a guy, the more familiar you are with his repertoire, attack strategy, arm slot, movement, etc.). With that said, Mahle has pretty much owned the Cubs this season, keeping them to just 4 earned runs over 10.2 IP with a .200/.256/.400 slash line overall.
For his career, lefties have CRUSHED Mahle, to the tune of a .377 wOBA (just .295 against RHH), but this season, those splits are reversed and extreme:
v. LHH: .155/.265/.362 (.273 wOBA)
v. RHH: .224/.291/.449 (.312 wOBA)
Explaining that change might be as simple as “small sample size noise,” but he did start throwing a cutter this year 23.6% of the time and that pitch, when effective, can be very tough on lefties.
As for the Cubs lineup, you’ll notice the continued absence of Jason Heyward, who left Sunday’s contest with some shortness of breath and light headedness. Hopefully, for his sake and the Cubs, he feels better soon. He was one of the Cubs most important hitters this season and, of course, his defense in right field is excellent. In any case, Cameron Maybin is replacing Heyward in right, batting ninth.
Jason Kipnis takes over the DH duties in this one, allowing David Bote to come into play second, and everyone else is right where you’d expect them to be. No major changes.
As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ post closer to game time (7:15 CT).